UNIVERSIDAD POLITÉCNICA DE MADRID ESCUELA TÉCNICA SUPERIOR DE INGENIEROS AGRÓNOMOS
DEPARTAMENTO DE INGENIERÍA AGROFORESTAL
The Role of Small Farmer Cooperatives in the Management of Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica
Anna Snider MSc International Horticulture
Thesis Co-Supervisor: Guy Faure, Ana Afonso Gallegos 2016
Tribunal nombrado por el Sr. Rector Magfco. de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, el día...............de.............................de 20....
Realizado el acto de defensa y lectura de la Tesis el día..........de........................de 20 ... en la E.T.S.I. /Facultad....................................................
EL PRESIDENTE EL SECRETARIO
Executive Summary Voluntary certifications offer consumers information on the process in which products are produced. They can use this information to make more informed purchasing decisions and to espouse the issues of sustainability they deem important. Voluntary coffee certifications were some of the first certifications available to consumers. These certifications are purported to promote environmental, social and financial sustainability in the countries of coffee production, but empirical evidence shows mixed results. Farmers’ organizations play an important role in the management of certifications and in smallfarmer access to certified markets. Farmers’ organizations offer advisory and other support services to their members to help them access certifications and commercialize certified coffee. Farmers’ organizations also make strategic decisions related to the organization’s participation in the certified value chain and how farmers are supported and incentivized to join. Costa Rican farmers’ organizations have a long history of participation in the certified value chain and in fomenting small famers’ access to certified markets. Cooperatives (which in Costa Rica have a distinct legal status from other types of farmers’ organizations, such as alliances) and consortia, or second-level cooperatives, are the most important means for small farmers in Costa Rica to access certifications. For these reasons Costa Rica provides an interesting milieu to study how farmers’ organizations manage certifications. Because of their importance in the certification process in Costa Rica, this research focuses on cooperatives and consortia of cooperatives. Considering the gap in knowledge regarding the role of cooperatives and voluntary coffee certifications, this thesis presents the following questions:
What is the role of cooperatives in the management of voluntary coffee certifications?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of participation in voluntary certifications for cooperatives?
What changes do certifications induce at the cooperative and farm levels? 4
What social aspects in Costa Rica influence the management and effectiveness of certifications?
Methods Research consisted of eleven months of field work in Costa Rica. Administrators from twenty of the twenty-two coffee cooperatives in Costa Rica were interviewed to obtain basic data on harvest size, membership and management and participation in certifications. This data was used to create a typology of Costa Rican coffee cooperatives. Four cooperatives were selected for in-depth case studies based on the typology. Case studies included in-depth interviews with cooperative managers and agronomists and a review of internal documents such as training records and assembly minutes when available. Case studies also included social capital surveys of members and semi-structured interviews regarding the evolution of farming practices.
Major Results Chapter 4 presents new information regarding price incentives paid to cooperatives and cooperative members to encourage participation in voluntary certifications. These incentives are weak and in some cases vary with the world price of coffee. Some types of certifications, such as Fair Trade and organic certification, reduce the fluctuation in prices paid to cooperatives and to farmers. When the world price of coffee is high, there may be no economic incentives to pursue these certifications. On the other hand, corporate certifications such as Starbuck’s CAFE Practices may augment the fluctuation of prices paid to cooperatives or to farmers. Incentives to pursue corporate certifications may be absent when the world price of coffee is low. With the exception of Fair Trade certification which requires that all members of the cooperative be certified, cooperatives can choose to certify all or only a portion of their members. Cooperatives can often fill buyer demand for certified coffee by certifying fewer than 5% of their members. Cooperatives may choose different strategies for different certifications. The majority of the
Executive Summary cooperatives choose individual certifications to minimize auditing costs and the pressure that certifications put on the human resources of the cooperative for training and management. Individual certifications also lower the barriers to certification, as the cooperative can select the members which comply with the majority of the certification standards for the individual certifications. Cooperative may also give priority to large farms in order to reduce management costs or they may give priority to members who have been loyal to the cooperative in the past as a reward for that loyalty. Therefore, although certifications are often criticized for not eliciting widespread change at the farm level due to the selection of compliant farms, it is the structure of the certifications, including low demand, weak and variable price incentives, high costs of auditing and high requirements for management and training, which incentivize cooperatives to choose individual certifications. Chapter 5 investigates changes at the cooperative and at the farm level. Certification-related changes begin at the cooperative level. Cooperatives may need to join a consortium to access services such as capacity building among cooperative staff, the collective use of equipment or financial support. In the first phase of implementation cooperative staff are trained, internal control systems are implemented and upgrades may be made to the mill. These changes correspond with certification requirements. The second phase of the implementation of certifications includes changes to the advisory services offered to the members. The largest change is in the subjects of the group training. Before certification, training focused on productivity and the management of pests and disease. Certifications oblige the cooperatives to add new themes to their training, such as soil and water management, the reduction of agrochemicals, pesticide safety and handling and climate change. In the beginning, these subjects may be out of the scope of experience of the cooperatives’ agronomists and technicians. Cooperatives form new relationships with outside organizations and
Executive Summary other stakeholders to offer trainings and support members. Outside stakeholders may also offer services such as recycling pesticide containers, providing shade tree seedlings or analyzing soils. These new topics addressed by advisory services, along with other influences such as laws and outside initiatives, change farmers’ perceptions about sustainable farming practices. Frequent attendance in group training is correlated with changes in certain farming practices such as the use a farm record book, use of a mask when applying pesticides, and use of a soil analysis to determine the amount of fertilizer they should apply. Conversely, the use of shade trees is not related to an individual’s attendance of cooperative trainings, rather it is related to other services that the cooperative provides. Members are more likely to have increased the number of shade trees on their farm in the last twenty years if their cooperative provided members with shade trees free of charge. Although quantifiable farm-level changes are ultimately small, certifications offer a more holistic approach to coffee production. They contribute to changing perceptions among farmers about sustainable farming practices. Change may be slow as farmers ‘unlearn’ old paradigms and create new ones. Chapter 6 explores the national context of Costa Rica, including the social capital in the cooperatives, and analyzes how this context effects how certifications are managed. High levels of social capital were found in cooperatives which participate in certifications. The one cooperative studied with low social capital does not have any certifications. The balance between bridging, or out-group social capital, and bonding, or in-group social capital, determines the willingness of cooperatives to provide equal access to certifications among the members and how cooperatives provide financial and in-kind incentives. Social capital, as measured by generalized trust in others, also influences individual participation in voluntary certifications. Members who believe that, in general, one can trust others are more likely to pursue Rainforest Alliance certification with no financial incentives. Conversely, no relationship
Executive Summary was found between generalized trust and participation in Utz certification when a financial incentive is provided.
Conclusions In Costa Rica, voluntary coffee certifications promote small but real benefits to cooperatives and their members. Cooperatives make decisions about the management of certifications based on their business strategies, the type of coffee they produce and the social capital inherent in the cooperative, which is manifested as a group solidarity approach or a commercial approach. Certifications incite a more holistic approach to coffee production by requiring training and services related to sustainable production. Certifications encourage cooperatives to collaborate with other stakeholders, increasing their connectedness and organizational social capital. This gives members access to new knowledge and services and has the potential to create a virtuous cycle of the production of social capital. Certifications, however, may induce cooperatives to offer additional services or financial incentives to some members and not to others. A high level of social capital is needed at the administrative level to ensure an equitable distribution of the benefits of certifications while still offering members incentives to pursue certifications. Keywords: Farmers’ organizations, voluntary certifications, advisory services, smallholder farmers, social capital
Résumé La certification volontaire offre aux consommateurs des informations détaillées sur le processus de production et/ou de fabrication des produits. Les consommateurs peuvent utiliser ces informations pour inclure dans leurs décisions d'achat les dimensions de la durabilité des produits qu'ils jugent importantes. La certification volontaire du café ont été une des premières mises en place. Elle vise à promouvoir la durabilité environnementale, sociale et financière dans les pays de production, mais les données empiriques montrent des résultats souvent mitigés. Les organisations paysannes jouent un rôle important dans la gestion de certification et de l'accès des petits agriculteurs aux marchés certifiés. Elles offrent des services de conseil à leurs membres, afin de leur permettre l’accès à la certification, et la commercialisation de café certifié. Les organisations paysannes prennent également des décisions stratégiques, comme par exemple la participation de leurs membres aux filières certifiées, grâce à divers soutiens et motivations qu’elles leur offrent. Les organisations de producteurs du Costa Rica ont historiquement joué un rôle important dans la participation des petits producteurs aux filières certifiées et leur motivation à accéder aux marchés certifiés. Les principaux moyens d’accès à la certification pour les petits agriculteurs du Costa Rica sont (i) les coopératives agricoles (qui ont au Costa Rica un statut juridique distinct des autres types d'organisations de producteurs, telles que les alliances) et (ii) les consortiums, aussi appelées coopératives de deuxième niveau. Pour ces raisons, le Costa Rica offre un environnement intéressant pour étudier la façon dont les organisations de producteurs de café arrivent à gérer la certification de leurs membres. Cette recherche se concentre uniquement sur les coopératives et les consortiums de coopératives puisqu’elles sont importantes dans le processus de certification. Considérant le manque de connaissances sur le rôle des coopératives et de la certification volontaire du café, cette thèse traite les questions suivantes:
Executive Summary • Quel est le rôle des coopératives dans la gestion des certifications volontaires? • Quels sont les changements induits par la certification, au niveau des coopératives et des exploitations ? • Quels aspects sociaux uniques propres au Costa Rica influencent la gestion et l'efficacité de la certification?
Méthodes La recherche empirique, qui a duré onze mois, s’est déroulée à travers des enquêtes au Costa Rica. Les administrateurs de vingt des vingt-deux coopératives de café au Costa Rica ont été enquêtés. Quatre coopératives ont ensuite été sélectionnées pour les études de cas approfondies.
Résultats Principaux Le chapitre 4 présente de nouvelles informations concernant les incitations par les prix payés aux coopératives et aux membres des coopératives pour encourager leur participation à la certification volontaire. Ces incitations sont faibles et, dans certains cas varient en fonction du avec le prix mondial du café. Lorsque le prix mondial du café est élevé, il peut n’y avoir aucune incitation économique à s’engager dans la certification. Ces types de certification réduisent en fait la volatilité des prix sur le marché du café. Les organismes de certification, telle que la CAFE Practices de Starbucks, augmentent la fluctuation des prix sur le marché mondial. Toutefois, les incitations de certification peuvent être nulles lorsque le prix mondial du café est faible. À l'exception de la certification « Commerce Equitable » qui exige que tous les membres d’une coopérative soit certifiés, les coopératives peuvent choisir de certifier seulement une partie de leurs membres. Elles fournissent souvent leurs acheteurs de café certifié en certifiant moins de 5% de leurs membres. Les coopératives peuvent également choisir des stratégies différentes en fonction des types de certification. La majorité des coopératives choisissent la certification individuelle pour réduire les coûts d’audit et les charges des ressources humaines comme la formation et la gestion du 10
Executive Summary personnel. La certification individuelle réduise également les obstacles à la certification, étant donné que la coopérative peut sélectionner les membres qui sont conformes aux normes de certification. Les coopératives peuvent également donner la priorité aux grandes exploitations, ou à des membres qui ont été fidèles à la coopérative dans le passé. Cependant, bien que les certifications soient souvent critiqués de ne pas provoquer d‘amélioration au niveau de l'exploitation en raison de la sélection des exploitations conformées uniquement, le facteur qui encourage les coopératives à choisir la certification individuelle est la structure des certifications, y compris la faible demande de café certifié, les incitations faible et variables des prix, les coûts élevés de l'audit et des exigences élevées en gestion et en formation. Le chapitre 5 étudie les changements au niveau de la coopérative et de l’exploitation. Les changements relatifs à la certification commencent au niveau de la coopérative elle-même. Ces dernières peuvent avoir besoin de se joindre à un consortium afin d'accéder à des services tels que le renforcement des capacités de leurs personnels, l'utilisation collective des équipements ou l’appui financier. La première phase de mise en œuvre de la certification consiste à former les personnels des coopératives, à mettre en place un système de contrôle interne et enfin à parfois améliorer les moulins. La deuxième phase concerne le changement des dispositifs de conseil offert aux membres. Le plus grand changement est celui des formations de groupes. En effet,
avant la certification, les
formations se focalisaient uniquement sur la productivité et la gestion des ravageurs et maladies. La certification incitent les coopératives à ajouter de nouveaux thèmes aux
proposent à leurs membres, telles que la gestion des sols et de l'eau, la réduction des produits chimiques, la sécurité liée aux manipulations des pesticides et le changement climatique. Au début, ces sujets semblaient être hors des compétences des agronomes et techniciens des coopératives. Pour cette raison, ces coopératives établissent de nouvelles relations avec des organisations externes et d'autres parties prenantes pour offrir des formations additionnelles à leurs membres. Les parties
Executive Summary prenantes extérieures à l’organisation offrent également des services supplémentaires tels que le recyclage des emballages de pesticides, l’approvisionnement en plants des arbres d’ombrage dans les plantations du café, ou l'analyse du sol. Ces nouveaux services de conseil, ainsi que d'autres influences telles que les lois et les initiatives des organisations extérieures, changent la perception des agriculteurs de la durabilité de leur système de production. La participation fréquente aux formations de groupe est corrélée avec certains changements observés chez les agriculteurs membres des coopératives. C’est le cas par exemple de l’utilisation d'un registre agricole, de l'utilisation d'un masque lors de l'application de pesticides, et de l’analyse du sol pour déterminer la quantité d’engrais nécessaire. Par contre, l'utilisation d'arbres d’ombrage n’est pas totalement liée à la participation à des sessions de formations organisées par la coopérative. En effet, les membres ont augmenté le nombre d'arbres d'ombrage dans leurs plantations lors des vingt dernières années, en particulier lorsque la coopérative leurs fournissait les plants gratuitement. Bien que les changements quantifiables soient minimes au niveau des exploitations, la certification permet une approche plus holistique de la production du café. Elle contribue à changer la perception des agriculteurs des pratiques agricoles durables. Le changement peut être lent, puisque les agriculteurs « désapprennent » les anciennes pratiques et créent de nouvelles méthodes. Nous avons précédemment discuté la situation de la certification au Costa Rica, qui est relativement transparente, notamment à travers l’incitation à l’amélioration
de la durabilité des pratiques
agricoles, bien que parfois minime. Le chapitre 6 explore le contexte national du Costa Rica, y compris le capital social dans les coopératives, et analyse comment ce contexte affecte la façon dont les certifications sont gérées. Les coopératives qui participent aux certifications sont celles qui possèdent un niveau élevé de capital social. La coopérative étudiée qui possède un faible niveau du capital social est celle qui n’est pas impliquée dans le processus de certifications. L'équilibre entre le capital social intergroupe et le 12
Executive Summary capital social intragroupe détermine l'égalité d'accès aux certifications entre les membres, ainsi que la façon dont les coopératives fournissent offrent des incitations financières et en nature. Le capital social, mesuré par la confiance généralisée à d'autres, influe également sur la participation individuelle aux certifications volontaires. Les membres qui croient qu’on peut faire confiance aux autres sont en général ceux qui s’engagent le plus à la certification Rainforest Alliance sans incitations financières. Par contre, aucune relation n'a été trouvée entre la notion de confiance généralisée et la participation à la certification Utz qu’inclue une incitation financière est disponible.
Conclusions Au Costa Rica, la certification de café volontaire fournissent des avantages réels, bien que minimes aux coopératives ainsi qu’à leurs membres. Les coopératives prennent des décisions sur la gestion des certifications en fonction de leurs stratégies commerciales, du type de café qu'elles produisent et de leur dotation en capital social, cette qui se manifeste comme une solidarité de groupe ou une approche commerciale. La certification incite à une approche plus holistique de la production de café en nécessitant plus de formations et de services liés à la production durable. Elle encourage les coopératives à collaborer avec d'autres parties prenantes, en augmentant leur connectivité et leur capital social. Cela donne aux membres un accès à de nouvelles connaissances et services, ce qui peut potentiellement créer un cercle vertueux de production de capital social. La certification peut cependant encourager les coopératives à offrir des services supplémentaires ou des incitations financières à une partie de leurs membres seulement. Un niveau élevé de capital social est nécessaire au niveau administratif pour assurer une répartition équitable des avantages de la certification tout en offrant des incitations aux membres à poursuivre la certification. Mots clés : Organisations des producteurs, certifications volontaires, conseille agricole, petits producteurs, capital social
Resumen Ejecutivo Las certificaciones voluntarias ofrecen a los consumidores información sobre el proceso de producción de distintos productos. Se puede utilizar esta información para tomar decisiones a la hora de comprarlos así como para incorporar los criterios de sostenibilidad que se considere importantes. Las certificaciones voluntarias del café formaron parte de las primeras certificaciones disponibles para los consumidores. Con estas certificaciones se pretende promover la sostenibilidad ambiental, social y económica en los países productores de café, pero la evidencia empírica muestra unos resultados mixtos. Las organizaciones de productores juegan un papel importante en la gestión de las certificaciones y en el acceso de los pequeños agricultores a los mercados certificados. Estas ofrecen servicios de asesoramiento a sus miembros para ayudarles a acceder certificaciones y comercializar café certificado. Las organizaciones de productores también toman decisiones estratégicas relacionadas con la participación de la organización en la cadena de valor certificada y en cómo se apoyan e incentivan a los asociados. Las organizaciones de productores costarricenses tienen una larga historia de participación en la cadena de valor certificada y en el fomento del acceso de los pequeños productores a los mercados certificados. Las cooperativas (que en Costa Rica tienen un estatuto jurídico distinto de otros tipos de organizaciones de agricultores, tales como alianzas y consorcios o cooperativas de segundo nivel), son los medios más importantes para los pequeños agricultores de Costa Rica a la hora de acceder a certificaciones. Por estas razones Costa Rica ofrece un medio interesante para estudiar cómo las organizaciones de productores gestionan las certificaciones. Debido a su importancia en el proceso de certificación, esta investigación se centra en las cooperativas y consorcios de cooperativas. Teniendo en cuenta la brecha en el conocimiento sobre el papel que desempeñan las cooperativas y las certificaciones voluntarias de café, esta tesis presenta las siguientes preguntas: 14
Executive Summary • ¿Cuál es el papel de las cooperativas en la gestión de las certificaciones voluntarias? • ¿Qué cambios inducen las certificaciones a niveles de terreno (cafetal) y de cooperativa? • ¿Qué aspectos sociales y singulares de Costa Rica influyen en la gestión y la eficacia de estas certificaciones?
Métodos La investigación consistió en once meses de trabajo de campo en Costa Rica. Se entrevistó a los administradores de veinte de las veintidós cooperativas de café en Costa Rica para obtener datos básicos sobre el tamaño de la cosecha, la pertenencia y la gestión y la participación en las certificaciones. Estos datos se utilizaron para crear una tipología de cooperativas de café de Costa Rica. Cuatro cooperativas fueron seleccionadas para los estudios de caso en profundidad en base a la tipología. Los estudios de casos incluyen entrevistas en profundidad con los gerentes y los agrónomos de las cooperativas y una revisión de los documentos internos, tales como los registros de capacitación y resúmenes de las asambleas cuando estén disponible. Los estudios de casos también incluyeron encuestas de capital social de los socios y entrevistas semi-estructuradas con respecto a la evolución de las prácticas agrícolas.
Resultados Principales El capítulo 4 presenta información novedosa con respecto a los incentivos de precios pagados a las cooperativas y a los asociados para fomentar la participación en las certificaciones voluntarias. Estos incentivos son débiles y en algunos casos varían con el precio mundial del café. Cuando el precio mundial del café esta en alta, no hay incentivos económicos que persigan la certificación. Estos tipos de certificaciones reducen la volatilidad del precio de mercado del café. Las certificaciones corporativas, como la CAFE Practices de Starbucks, aumentan la fluctuación del mercado del café. Los incentivos a la certificación pueden desaparecer cuando el precio mundial del café esta baja.
Executive Summary A excepción de la certificación de Comercio Justo que requiere certificar todos socios de la cooperativa, las cooperativas pueden optar por certificar la totalidad o sólo una parte de sus asociados. Las cooperativas a menudo pueden cubrir la demanda del comprador de café certificado mediante la certificación de menos del 5% de sus asociados. Las cooperativas pueden elegir diferentes estrategias para diferentes certificaciones. La mayoría de las cooperativas eligen certificaciones individuales para minimizar los gastos de auditoría y disminuir la presión depositada en los recursos humanos misma para las actividades de formación y gestión. Las certificaciones individuales también reducen las barreras a la certificación, ya que la cooperativa puede seleccionar los miembros que cumplen con la mayoría de las normas de certificación. Las cooperativas también pueden dar prioridad a las grandes explotaciones o a los asociados que han sido fieles a la cooperativa en el pasado. Por lo tanto, aunque las certificaciones son a menudo criticadas por no provocar un cambio generalizado en las explotaciones debido a la selección única de las que cumplen con las reglas, es la estructura de las certificaciones, incluyendo la baja demanda, los incentivos de precios débiles y variables, los altos costos de la auditoría y los altos requisitos para gestión y formación, la que conduce a las cooperativas a elegir certificaciones individuales. El capítulo 5 investiga sobre los cambios tanto en la cooperativa como en los cafetales. Estos cambios están relacionados con la certificación que comienza a nivel de cooperativa. Las cooperativas pueden tener que unirse a un consorcio para acceder a servicios como la creación de capacidades entre el personal de la cooperativa, el uso colectivo de los equipos o apoyo financiero. En la primera fase de aplicación se capacita al personal de la cooperativa, se implementan los sistemas de control interno y las mejoras que se pueden hacer al molino. La segunda fase de la implementación de certificaciones incluye cambios en los servicios de asesoramiento que las cooperativas ofrecen a los asociados. El cambio más grande se produce en los temas de la formación del grupo. Antes de la certificación, la capacitación se centra en la 16
Executive Summary productividad y en la gestión de plagas y de enfermedades. Las certificaciones obligan a las cooperativas a agregar nuevos temas a su formación, como la gestión del suelo y del agua, la reducción de agroquímicos, la seguridad y el manejo de plaguicidas y el cambio climático. Al principio, estas temáticas pueden quedar fuera del ámbito y la experiencia de agrónomos y técnicos de las cooperativas. Las cooperativas forman nuevas relaciones con organizaciones externas y otras partes interesadas para ofrecer estas capacitaciones. Los interesados externos también pueden ofrecer servicios tales como el reciclaje de los envases de plaguicidas, el suministro de semillas de árboles de sombra o el análisis de suelos. Estos nuevos servicios de asesoramiento, junto con otras influencias como las leyes e iniciativas externas, cambian las percepciones de los agricultores acerca de las prácticas agrícolas sostenibles. La asistencia frecuente a los grupos de formación está correlacionada con cambios en ciertas prácticas agrícolas tales como el uso de un libro de registro de explotación, el uso de una máscara para la aplicación de pesticidas, y el análisis de suelos para determinar la cantidad de fertilizante que se debe aplicar. Por el contrario, el uso de árboles de sombra no está relacionado con la asistencia a cursos de formación de la cooperativa. Los miembros son más propensos a haber aumentado el número de árboles de sombra en su cafetal en los últimos veinte años si su cooperativa suministro árboles de sombra sin cargo alguno. Aunque los cambios cuantificables a nivel de cafetal son pequeños, las certificaciones ofrecen un enfoque más holístico de la producción de café. Contribuyen a cambiar las percepciones de los agricultores acerca de las prácticas agrícolas sostenibles. El cambio puede ser lento para los agricultores que tienen que 'desaprender' viejos paradigmas para adoptar nuevos. En la parte superior he descrito la situación en Costa Rica, en la que las certificaciones funcionan de manera transparente e incentivan un mejoramiento en la sostenibilidad de las prácticas agrícolas, aunque a veces los cambios son pequeños. El capítulo 6 explora el contexto nacional de Costa Rica,
Executive Summary incluyendo el capital social en las cooperativas, y analiza cómo este contexto afecta a las cooperativas que gestionan las certificaciones. Se encontraron altos niveles de capital social en las cooperativas que participan en las certificaciones. La única cooperativa estudiada con bajo capital social no tiene ningunas certificaciones. El equilibrio entre el capital social de puente, o fuera de grupo social, y capital social de apego, o dentro del grupo, que determina la igualdad de acceso a las certificaciones entre los asociados y cómo las cooperativas ofrecen incentivos financieros y en especie. El capital social, medido por la confianza generalizada en otros, también influye en la participación individual en las certificaciones voluntarias. Los miembros que creen que, en general, se puede confiar en la mayoría de la gente son más propensos a buscar la certificación Rainforest Alliance sin incentivos financieros. Por el contrario, no se encontró ninguna relación entre la confianza y la participación generalizada en la certificación Utz cuando se proporciona un incentivo financiero.
Conclusiones En Costa Rica, las certificaciones de café voluntarias promueven beneficios pequeños pero reales para las cooperativas y sus asociados. Las Cooperativas toman decisiones sobre la gestión de las certificaciones en función de sus estrategias de negocio, el tipo de café que producen y la capital social inherente a la cooperativa, que se manifiesta como un enfoque de solidaridad de grupo o de un enfoque comercial. Las certificaciones incitan a un enfoque más holístico de la producción de café, al exigir la formación y los servicios relacionados con la producción sostenible. Las certificaciones impulsan a las cooperativas a colaborar con otras partes interesadas, aumentando su conectividad y el capital social de la organización. Esto da a los miembros acceso a nuevos conocimientos y servicios, y tiene el potencial de crear un círculo virtuoso de la producción de capital social.
Executive Summary Las Certificaciones, sin embargo, pueden inducir a las cooperativas a ofrecer servicios adicionales o incentivos financieros a algunos miembros y no a otros. Se necesita un alto nivel de capital social al nivel administrativo para garantizar una distribución equitativa de los beneficios de las certificaciones, sin dejar de ofrecer incentivos a los miembros para promoverlas. Palabras claves: Organizaciones de productores, certificaciones voluntarias, extensión agrícola, pequeños productores, capital social
Table of Contents Executive Summary ................................................................................................................................. 3 Methods .................................................................................................................................................. 5 Major Results........................................................................................................................................... 5 Conclusions.............................................................................................................................................. 8 Résumé .................................................................................................................................................... 9 Méthodes .......................................................................................................................................... 10 Résultats Principaux .......................................................................................................................... 10 Conclusions........................................................................................................................................ 13 Resumen Ejecutivo ................................................................................................................................ 14 Métodos ............................................................................................................................................ 15 Resultados Principales ....................................................................................................................... 15 Conclusiones...................................................................................................................................... 18 Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................................... 24 Chapter 1: Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 25 Abstract ................................................................................................................................................. 26 Abstract ............................................................................................................................................. 26 Voluntary Coffee Certifications and the Global Coffee Market ........................................................ 28 Certification Standards ...................................................................................................................... 29 Standard-Compliant Production.................................................................................................... 31 Farmers’ Organizations ......................................................................................................................... 33 Problem Statement ........................................................................................................................... 34 Chapter 2: Methods .............................................................................................................................. 37 Abstract ............................................................................................................................................. 38 Abstract ............................................................................................................................................. 38 Study Design ...................................................................................................................................... 39 Chapter 3: Costa Rica’s Coffee Cooperative Sector............................................................................... 44 Abstract ............................................................................................................................................. 45 Abstract ............................................................................................................................................. 45 The Coffee Industry in Costa Rica...................................................................................................... 46 Classifications of Coffee Quality in Costa Rica .............................................................................. 46 Farmers’ organizations in Costa Rica’s coffee industry ................................................................. 48 Costa Rican Cooperatives and Regions ............................................................................................. 49
Introduction Central Valley, West Valley and Trés Rios Cooperatives ............................................................... 51 Tarrazú Cooperatives ........................................................................................................................ 51 Guanacaste Cooperatives .............................................................................................................. 51 Coto Brus (Brunca) Cooperatives .................................................................................................. 52 Chapter 4: Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? ...................................................... 54 Abstract ............................................................................................................................................. 55 Abstract ............................................................................................................................................. 56 Introduction........................................................................................................................................... 58 The Costa Rican Coffee Sector....................................................................................................... 59 Voluntary Coffee Certifications and Global Production ................................................................ 60 Materials and Methods ..................................................................................................................... 63 Results and Discussion ...................................................................................................................... 65 Implementation of Certifications by Costa Rican Coffee Cooperatives ........................................ 65 Financial Incentives for Cooperatives ........................................................................................... 78 Paying Certification Premiums to Members ................................................................................. 86 Conclusion ......................................................................................................................................... 91 Chapter 5: Voluntary Coffee Certifications Influence how Cooperatives Provide Advisory Services to Smallholder Farmers in Costa Rica ........................................................................................................ 93 Abstract ............................................................................................................................................. 94 Abstract ............................................................................................................................................. 94 Introduction....................................................................................................................................... 96 Costa Rica and Voluntary Coffee Certifications................................................................................. 97 Conceptual Framework ..................................................................................................................... 98 Materials and Methods ................................................................................................................... 100 Results and Discussion .................................................................................................................... 103 Changes at the cooperative level ................................................................................................ 103 Changes in farming practices ...................................................................................................... 109 Conclusions...................................................................................................................................... 112 Chapter 6: National Contexts Matter: Social Capital and Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica ............................................................................................................................................................. 115 Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... 116 Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... 117 Introduction..................................................................................................................................... 119 Classifying social capital to predict collective action ...................................................................... 121
Chapter 1 Voluntary Certifications in Costa Rica ............................................................................................. 124 Materials and Methods ................................................................................................................... 124 Organizational social capital ........................................................................................................ 125 Social capital of cooperative membership .................................................................................. 126 Results and Discussion .................................................................................................................... 127 Social Capital in Cooperatives and the Effects on the Management of Certifications ............... 127 Generalized Trust and Voluntary Participation in Certification .................................................. 135 Social Capital and Certifications: A Virtuous Cycle? .................................................................... 139 Considering the National Context When Implementing Certification Schemes ......................... 144 Conclusions...................................................................................................................................... 145 Chapter 7: Synthesis ............................................................................................................................ 147 Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... 148 Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... 148 Introduction......................................................................................................................................... 149 The synergy between cooperatives and certifications........................................................................ 149 The structure of the coffee sector affects the efficacy and management of certifications ........... 150 Environmental and social regulation and enforcement .............................................................. 150 Law 2762: regulating coffee quality and relations between producers and millers ................... 154 Strong Cooperative Sector and Institutional Support ................................................................. 155 Social Capital in Costa Rica .............................................................................................................. 157 Financial benefits of certification .................................................................................................... 160 Certification premiums are variable and poorly incentivize farmers .......................................... 160 Non-financial benefits of certifications ........................................................................................... 163 Promoting a holistic approach to coffee production .................................................................. 164 Increased human and social capital ............................................................................................ 165 Balancing financial incentives with member equality ................................................................. 165 Balancing extrinsic and intrinsic motivations .................................................................................. 166 Limits of the study ........................................................................................................................... 168 Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 170 Chapter 8: ............................................................................................................................................ 173 Conclusions.......................................................................................................................................... 173 Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... 174 Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... 174 Conclusiones.................................................................................................................................... 180 22
Introduction References ........................................................................................................................................... 185 Appendix A : ........................................................................................................................................ 196 Social Capital Survey Questions .......................................................................................................... 196 Appendix B: ......................................................................................................................................... 200 Coffee Cooperative Census Questions ................................................................................................ 200 Appendix C: Farming Practices ............................................................................................................ 205 Questionnaire ...................................................................................................................................... 205 Appendix D: ......................................................................................................................................... 209 Social Capital Index Data ..................................................................................................................... 209 Appendix E: Aportaciones Originales, Impresos de Aceptación y Renuncia a Presentarlos a Otras Tesis Doctorales ........................................................................................................................................... 211 Appendix F: Conference Communication............................................................................................ 215
First and foremost I would like to thank the coffee producers and administrators of the coffee cooperatives in Costa Rica for their patience, hospitality and candor. This thesis would not have been possible without them. I would especially like to thank Jorge Ortiz at CoopeLlanoBonito for his generosity with his time and knowledge. Next I would like to thank my advisors Guy Faure and Ana Afonso Gallegos for their guidance and input on my research. I would also like to thank Nicole Sibelet and Isabel Gutiérrez for their help and support in Costa Rica as well as for their input on many drafts of articles. Thank you Aske for your clear and practical comments. Thank you to Andreas de Neergaard and Didier Pillot and the rest of my AgTraIn family. Particular thanks go to Enrique for being a constant sounding board for ideas and support. A big thank you Eva for your work and for your company during field work. Thanks to Thomas, Aboubakar, Daniel and Guillaume for help with translations and Romaric for help with statistical software.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Abstract This chapter outlines the relevant literature on voluntary coffee certifications. Certifications have emerged to improve the position of small holder farmers in the value chain while at the same time promoting sustainable production. Their effectiveness in reaching these goals is variable. It has been suggested that efficacy depends on the type of certification, incentives offered at the farm level to pursue certifications and the national context into which they are adopted. Nevertheless there is little research on the differences in incentives for different certifications and on which aspects of national context affect certification efficacy. Each certification scheme focuses on different aspects of sustainability, including environmental and social aspects. This chapter highlights the lack of literature on certifications other than Fair Trade and organic, the lack of information on non-financial benefits of certification, and questions of which social aspects of national context affect the efficacy of certifications. This chapter includes a table comparing the standards which are discussed in this manuscript and also presents the research questions which will be answered in this thesis.
Abstract Ce chapitre présente la littérature relative à la certification volontaire du café. La certification a émergé avec pour objectif d’améliorer la situation des petits producteurs dans la chaîne de valeur et de promouvoir une production plus durable. L’atteinte de ces objectifs est variable. Il a été suggéré que l'efficacité dépend du type de certification, des motivations économiques offertes au niveau de la ferme et du contexte national dans lequel la certification a été adoptée. Néanmoins, il y a peu de travaux sur les différences entre les motivations économiques issues des différentes certifications, ainsi que sur les aspects du contexte national qui affectent l’efficacité de la certification. Chaque système de certification met l'accent sur différents aspects de la durabilité, y compris ceux environnementaux et sociaux. 26
Introduction Ce chapitre révèle le manque de documentation à propos des types de certifications différentes du commerce équitable et de l’agriculture biologique. Il met aussi en évidence le manque d'information sur les avantages non financiers de la certification, et pose la question des aspects sociaux du contexte national qui affectent l'efficacité de la certification. Il contient un tableau comparant les certifications abordées dans ce document, et présente les questions de recherche qui sont traitées.
Voluntary Coffee Certifications and the Global Coffee Market Coffee is, by nature, a volatile market and small-scale face difficulties dealing with these variations (Bacon, 2008). The market for coffee is plagued by times of high prices when farmers may invest considerable resources into expanding their coffee production and subsequent low prices when the price received by the farmer may not cover the costs of production (Nevins, 2007). The most recent prolonged coffee crisis was in 1999-2004 when farmers experienced some of the lowest coffee prices in over a century (Bacon, 2008). Coffee prices dropped below the costs of production and in 2001 Central American farmers experienced losses per quintal1 ranging from $29/quintal in Costa Rica and $12/quintal in El Salvador (Flores, 2002). In the past the International Coffee Agreement (ICA), which was in effect from 1962-1989, regulated the price of coffee on the world market (Talbot, 2002). The ICA was generally considered successful in increasing the proportion of the final price that was paid to producers and in reducing the lows of the market (Daviron & Ponte, 2005; Talbot, 2002), although it may have been less successful in reducing market spikes (Mehta & Chavas, 2008). The collapse of the ICA has tipped the balance of power within the coffee chain to the side of the actors in consuming countries (Johannessen & Wilhite, 2010). Certifications such as Fair Trade2 and certified organic have emerged as a market-driven innovation to de-commoditize coffee and to offer farmers more resilience against price fluctuations while at the same time encouraging more sustainable farming practices (Bacon, 2005). Several studies have found that Fair Trade offers modest financial benefits to producers and their organizations (Lyon, 2007; L. T. Raynolds, Murray, & Taylor, 2005) and increases small farmer resiliency (Bacon, 2005). However the effect on the wages of farm laborers is variable (Cramer, Johnston, Oya, & Sender, 2014; Luetchford, 2008). On the other hand, other studies have found that Fair Trade and organic certified farmers have lower incomes than conventional farmers (Beuchelt & Zeller, 2011).
Introduction Perhaps more important than the financial benefits of Fair Trade are the social benefits, such as support for community development, empowerment and capacity building (Bacon, 2010; L. T. Raynolds et al., 2005). However, if poorly managed, certifications may augment inequality among the members in a cooperative (Fraser, Fisher, & Arce, 2013; Getz, 2008; González & Nigh, 2005) and destroy trust (Elder, Zerriffi, & Le Billon, 2012). There is also concern that certification standards may create a barrier for developing countries to participate in these global value chains because of the difficulties associated with complying with certification regulations (Lazaro, Makindara, & Kilima, 2008). This discrepancy in the effectiveness of voluntary certifications has been attributed to national regulatory context (Elder, Zerriffi, & Le Billon, 2013), yet other important dimensions of national context which determine certifications’ efficacy have not yet been explored. These dimensions include levels of social capital and organization of the cooperative sector. This thesis attempts to contribute to the identification of these dimensions.
Certification Standards The certification standards currently on the market have a variety of social and environmental standards. Each certification scheme focuses on different aspects of sustainable production (Raynolds, Murray, & Heller, 2007). This thesis focuses on coffee certifications found in Costa Rica. See Table 1. Fair Trade focuses on providing economic incentives to producers to implement socially and environmentally sustainable practices. Certification is only available to small and medium-holder farmers who are organized in democratic producers’ associations. Fair Trade specifies a minimum price that producers must be paid for their product ($1.40/pound since April, 2011 and for the duration of this study) and includes a $0.20/pound social premium. Members vote on how the social premium will be used during annual assemblies (Fairtrade International, 2014). Certification
Chapter 1 standards focus on social justice, reducing chemical inputs, employment relationships and sustainability management (Raynolds et al., 2007). Rainforest Alliance is a member of the Sustainable Agriculture Network and its certification has the most developed standards protecting social welfare and the environment. Certification requirements focus on biodiversity, human rights and employment relationships (Rainforest Alliance & SalvaNatura, 2010). Because of its strategic goal of large-scale change across the coffee sector, Rainforest Alliance began by certifying mainly large plantations. However, Rainforest Alliance is increasingly certifying small-scale farmers and many small farmer cooperatives currently have certified farms (Raynolds et al., 2007). Auditing services for Rainforest Alliance certification are managed by its RA-Cert division (Rainforest Alliance, 2014). CAFE (Coffee and Farmer Equity) Practices is the responsible-sourcing program for Starbucks Coffee Company. Standards, or guidelines as Starbucks prefers to call them, consist of a scorecard with 74 items. Criteria on the scorecard are categorized as regular standards, ‘zero tolerance’ or ‘extra point’ (Ruben & Zuñiga, 2011). Standards focus on traceability and origin, issues at the heart of the company’s mission to provide ‘the finest coffee’ (Raynolds, 2009) but also include requirements in social responsibility and environmental leadership (Starbucks Coffee Company, 2012). There is no guaranteed premium for certified coffee, but economic transparency within the supply chain is required (Starbucks Coffee Company, 2016). Utz certification is based on GlobalGAP traceability requirements and extensive recordkeeping. It is considered a mainstream coffee certification which seeks to ‘hold the bar,’ rather than ‘raise the bar’ on issues of producer livelihoods and environmental protection (Raynolds et al., 2007). Certification criteria focus on supply chain management and good agricultural practices (Utz Certified, 2015). When the certification was first initiated it included mandatory premium, but this premium is no longer specified in the certification guidelines (Daviron & Ponte, 2005). Rather, the certification seeks to increase income by improving yields and quality (Ruben & Zuñiga, 2011). 30
Introduction Organic coffee certification has strict environmental standards, in particular prohibited chemicals, however, it is lacking in other aspects of sustainability. There are no social criteria that producers must meet for EU organic certification (IFOAM, 2014) and the premium which was once a significant incentive for farmers now often does not cover the costs of production (Beuchelt & Zeller, 2011). Harvested by Women is a certification scheme of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance. The certification was created in 2012 and is still in the development stage. Certification standards focus on gender issues, employment relations, and soil and waste management (International Trade Centre, 2012). Standard-Compliant Production In 2012, 40% of the world’s coffee production was compliant with the standards of at least one certification. However, only 12% of the global supply was sold with certification, indicating an oversupply of certified coffee (Potts et al., 2014). The top five producers of standard-compliant coffee are Brazil (40%), Colombia (17%), Vietnam (15%), Peru (6%) and Honduras (3%). Costa Rica produces 1% of the world’s standard-compliant coffee (Potts et al., 2014). Sales of nearly all standard-compliant coffee have experienced double-digit growth rates between 2008 and 2012. The rate of growth in 4C (Common Code for the Coffee Community)3 was 90% between 2008 and 2012 for a total in 2012 of 152,708 metric tons. This was followed by Rainforest Alliance with a growth rate of 28% between 2008 and 2011 and 2011 total sales of 129, 846 metric tons. Utz experienced a 25% increase in global sales between 2008 and 2012 with a 2012 total of 188,096 metric tons. CAFE Practices grew by 14% in the same time period with 223,230 metric tons of sales in 2012. Fair Trade’s 2008-2012 growth rate was 13% with a 2012 total of 128,000 metric tons. Sales of organic certified coffee grew by only 4% between 2008 and 2011 with a 2011 total of 133,163 metric tons (Potts et al., 2014). Despite the growing importance of other certifications, current research focuses mainly on Fair Trade and organic certification.
Chapter 1 Table 1 : A comparison of popular certification standards. Elaborated from multiple sources (4C Association, 2012; Fairtrade International, 2014; IFOAM, 2014; International Trade Centre, 2012; Rainforest Alliance & SalvaNatura, 2010; Starbucks Coffee Company, 2012; Utz Certified, 2015). Standard
Fair Trade International
Focus on medium-term improvement of soil and forests. Focus on worker Prohibited chemicals- 'Red List'. Focus on chemical storage protection, workplace and training. Long-term goals on carbon sequestration. safety and employment relations.
Focus on supply chain responsibility.
Non-explicit quality standards.
Focus on compliance to legislation.
Guaranteed minimum price of $1.40/pound for Arabica plus a $0.20/pound social premium.
Focus on soil, biodiversity, water and forest protection. Focus on worker Prohibited chemicals and continuous reduction of protection, employment agrochemicals. relations and gender equality.
Focus on sustainability management.
Focus on traceability.
Focus on compliance to legislation.
Focus on soil and water protection. WHO prohibited Focus on compliance with pesticides, Type 1A and 1B. local labor laws and safe handling of pesticides.
Recommended management plan, financial transparency.
Non-explicit quality standards.
Focus on compliance to legislation.
Focus on medium-term water and energy management. Non-discrimination, Prohibited chemicals- WHO Type 1A and 1B, Stockholm worker rights and Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, PAN's Dirty employment relations. Dozen. Recommendations on soil, forest, waste management and biodiversity protection.
Focus on sustainability management and system of internal control.
Recommendation Compliance with to meet industry International Labor standards. Organization Conventions.
Focus on soil, water and biodiversity protection and nutrient recycling. Strict chemical restrictions but vary by specific certification.
Worker protection standards, but weak in overall social protection and gender equality.
Few management standards.
Non-explicit quality No ethics standards. standards.
Focus on women's rights
Traceability of price premium, if there is one.
Fair Trade + Organic double certifications guarantees + $0.20/pound over Fair Trade minimum price. None guaranteed.
Harvested by Prohibited pesticides- 'Red Label' of WHO Type 1A Women or 1B. Waste management policies.
Farmers’ Organizations Farmers’ organization refers to any organized group of agricultural producers. This includes different types, such as cooperatives, collectives, or associations (Penrose-Buckley, 2007; Young, Sherman, & Rose, 1981). Farmers’ organizations are producer owned and controlled business which are engaged in collective marketing activities (Penrose-Buckley, 2007). Because farmers’ organizations are member-owned, they must provide benefits to their members while maintaining themselves as a profitable business. Farmers’ organizations provide important services to their members such as advisory services, group purchase of inputs, the mobilization of resources for local development, and a forum in which farmers and governments interact (Wennink, Nederlof, & Heemskerk, 2008; Young et al., 1981). Participation in farmers’ organizations is vital for small-holder access to certifications (Muradian & Pelupessy, 2005) and an important strategy in improving the empowerment, a livelihoods, and access to services of small-scale farmers (Bacon, 2008; Ton, Bijman, & Oorthuizen, 2007; Wennink & Heemskerk, 2006). In Costa Rica farmers’ organizations are classified as associations (Gobierno de Costa Rica, 1970), cooperatives (Gobierno de Costa Rica, 1968) and consortia (Gobierno de Costa Rica, 1999). Each type of organization has its own distinct legal status. Consortia are second-level cooperatives whose members are cooperatives, not individuals. A cooperative is one type of farmers’ organization. There is no universally-accepted definition of cooperative and the structure and organizational models can vary (Chaddad & Cook, 2004). The International Co-operative Alliance defines a cooperative as ‘an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise’ (International Co-operative Alliance, 2015). Costa Rican cooperatives and consortia provide important services to members to facilitate access to certifications (Faure, Le Coq, et al., 2012). Fair Trade in particular has been found to strengthen
Chapter 1 producers’ organizations (Luetchford, 2008; Ronchi, 2002; Ruben & Zuñiga, 2011), although some studies show inconclusive results (Elder et al., 2012). There is little data neither on the role of producers’ organizations in the management of other certifications nor on the effect of these certifications on the organizations. One study from Mexico found that CAFE Practices certification threatened the existence of a producer cooperative and failed to build human capital in staff and members (Renard, 2010). Mutersbaugh (2002) cites a case, also in Mexico, of organic certification weakening a peasant organization’s ability to advocate for its members.
Problem Statement There is abundant literature on voluntary coffee certifications. However this literature focuses on Fair Trade and organic certifications and virtually overlooks other certifications, such as CAFE Practices, Rainforest Alliance and Utz. Research regarding the financial impact of certifications is contradictory, with some studies finding a positive effect on producer income and other studies finding little to no effect. Social impacts are also variable, with some studies suggesting that certifications build social capital within certified farmers’ organizations and others finding that certifications have destroyed social capital. Little attention is paid to non-financial benefits of certifications for cooperatives and farmers. This thesis explores the role of farmers’ organizations in the management of voluntary coffee certifications and the effect on these certifications on small farmers and their organizations. It focuses on the social dynamics between farmers and their cooperatives. Chapter 2 presents the methods used to collect and analyze data. Chapter 3 provides background information on the area of study: Costa Rica’s coffee cooperative sector. Chapters 4, 5 and 6 are based on articles submitted for publication. As these three chapters draw on data collected from the same periods of field work and each chapter can stand alone, there is some repetition in the methods of the three chapters. 34
Introduction Chapter 4 of this thesis addresses the following questions in response to the lack of academic literature regarding the role of farmers’ organizations in the management of voluntary coffee certifications and the discrepancies in the literature about financial incentives for certified coffee:
What is the role of cooperatives in the management of voluntary coffee certifications including Fair Trade, CAFE Practices, Rainforest Alliance, organic and Utz?
What factors influence the decisions that cooperatives make regarding the management of certifications?
What financial and non-financial incentives are offered to cooperatives and their members to encourage participation in voluntary certifications?
To further address the question of non-financial benefits of certifications, Chapter 5 looks at how advisory services change with certification and how that affects the larger discourse surrounding the sustainability of farming practices. The following research questions are targeted:
How do a cooperative’s advisory services change with certification?
How do outside stakeholders involved in certifications influence cooperative services?
What are the changes at the cooperative and farm level with the implementation of certifications?
Chapter 6 considers the social context of Costa Rican coffee cooperatives to better understand the effect of national context on certifications’ efficacy in inducing changes in the environmental, financial and social sustainability of cooperatives. It addresses the following research questions:
How does the social capital of the members and the organization affect the management of voluntary certifications?
What is the potential for certifications to build social capital in cooperatives?
The results of the three empirical chapters are synthesized in Chapter 7, allowing for a deeper discussion of the issues and their policy and theoretical implications.
Chapter 1 Chapter 8 concludes the thesis with a summary of the implications of this work on management of certifications. The results will be useful to improve the efficacy of certifications in increasing the environmental, social and financial sustainability of the livelihoods of small farmer and farmers’ organizations in all parts of the world. 1
One quintal equals 100 pounds or 60 kg.
Fair Trade can be seen listed variously as Fairtrade (to denote Fairtrade International), Fair Trade USA (to denote the
American Fair Trade Certification) and fair trade to denote the concept of fair commerce, but not the certification. This manuscript uses ‘Fair Trade’ to denote both Fairtrade International and Fair Trade USA, though the majority of Fair Trade certification in Costa Rica is through Fairtrade International. 3
4C certification, while popular on a global scale, is not popular among Costa Rican cooperatives and is not dealt with in this
Chapter 2: Methods
Abstract This research consists of a mixed methods approach to data collection. Case studies were conducted in four representative cooperatives. Case studies consisted of quantitative surveys of members to assess levels of social capital, semi-structured interviews with members regarding farming methods, qualitative interviews with cooperative administrators, focus group discussions with members and a review of internal documents. Results were analyzed by a cross-case thematic analysis of the four case studies. A timeline analysis was also undertaken to determine the evolution of cooperative services, changes in farming practices and the factors which influence these changes.
Abstract Ce travail mobilise une méthode mixte de collecte de données. Des études de cas ont été menées sur quatre coopératives représentatives. Les formes de collecte de données sont (1) des enquêtes quantitatives auprès des membres, réalisés dans le but d'évaluer les niveaux de capital social (2) des entretiens semi-structurés avec des membres, visant à analyser les méthodes de production (3) des entretiens qualitatifs avec les administrateurs des coopératives, (4) des discussions de groupes avec les membres et (5) l'examen de documents internes. Les résultats ont été obtenus par une analyse thématique croisée des quatre études de cas. Une analyse chronologique a également été réalisée pour déterminer l'évolution des services fournis par les coopératives, les changements dans les pratiques agricoles et les facteurs qui influencent ces changements.
Study Design This thesis relies on a mixed-methods approach to data collection to answer the research questions outlined in the previous chapter. It uses a combination of quantitative surveys and qualitative case studies, interviews and focus group discussions. It also includes a review of the internal documents of case study cooperatives, including training records, newsletters and the minutes from annual assemblies. Research Phases The first phase of research included a literature review, background reading and auditing classes related to the research. The literature review included current research on voluntary certifications, social capital, collective action, agricultural cooperatives and advisory services. Background reading included text and grey literature regarding the coffee industry in Costa Rica, economics, sociology and case study research. Classes were audited in organizational analysis, qualitative survey methods and socio-economics. Phase two was conducted in Costa Rica in March through August 2013. Twenty of the twenty-two coffee cooperatives were visited to collect basic information on the size of the cooperative (See Table 2), the quality of coffee produced and certification management (type of certification, area and number of members certified, premiums paid to farmers, auditing costs etc). This data was collected in the form of a semi-structured interview (N. Sibelet, M. Mutel, P. Arragon, & M. Luye, 2013), using the interview script as a guide, but pursuing further information when applicable. The interview guide can be found in Appendix 2. In all cooperatives the person most involved in certifications was interviewed. In most cases this was the general manager of the cooperative, but in some cases the manager indicated a sales manager or agronomist who worked more closely with certifications. Additional interviews and email communications were conducted with other stakeholders, including managers at certification bodies such as Rainforest Alliance, the Women’s Coffee Alliance, Starbuck’s Farmer Support Center; consortia of cooperatives such as Consortium of Coffee Cooperatives of
Chapter 2 Guanacaste and Montes de Oro (Coocafe), Sustainable Coffee Initiative (Suscof), CafeCoop; governmental organizations such as National Coffee Institute (Icafe), Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), and various corporate buyers of certified coffee. In Phase 3, interview data were processed and interpreted according the thematic analysis method described in Sibelet, M. Mutel, P. Arragon, and M. Luye (2013). A list of relevant analyzing dimensions was made based on the interview questions (number of members, volume and quality of harvest, number and type of certifications, individual or collective management of certifications, motivations to pursue certifications etc.). ‘Number of certifications’ and ‘type of certifications’ were determined to be the most important variables to use in order to study and predict the extent to which cooperatives will participate in certifications. Cooperatives were organized by these variables and patterns emerged regarding the secondary variables of number of members, quality of harvest, motivations to pursue certifications, etc. A typology of Costa Rican coffee cooperatives was created, as detailed in Chapter 4. From this typology, four cooperatives were chosen for further study. Cooperatives were chosen for a diversity of Type (as defined in the typology), geographical location and certification type (Fair Trade, CAFE Practices, Rainforest Alliance etc.). In Phase 4, conducted in April through September 2014, case studies were conducted in the four selected cooperatives. The case study method was chosen for its usefulness in answering ‘how’ questions (Yin, 2009). The case study method was deemed particularly useful in answering the research questions: How do a cooperative’s advisory services change with certification? How do outside stakeholders influence the way cooperatives provide services? How does the social capital of the members and the organization affect the management of voluntary certifications? Approximately one month was spent in each case study cooperative, living in a village within the jurisdiction of each cooperative or in the home of a cooperative member. During this time I conducted interviews with the administrators of the cooperatives regarding the evolution of farming practices; advisory services such as group training, site visits and field days; collaborations with other 40
Methods stakeholders; and their perceptions about certifications. I also conducted social capital surveys (See Appendix 1) and interviews about farming practices (use of herbicides, soil analysis, shade trees etc., See Table 2). I reviewed internal documents as available (ex., training records and minutes from general assemblies) and attended cooperative events when possible (group training, farm visits and general assemblies). A Masters student from the University of Copenhagen, Eva Kraus, conducted indepth interviews about farming practices with coffee producers in CoopeLlanoBonito and CoopeTarrazu. The data collected was used in her thesis (Kraus, 2015) and also appears in Chapter 5. A fifth cooperative was identified as an interesting case from the point of view of social capital. A mini-case study consisting of interviews with two board members and the manager was conducted in this cooperative and is included in Chapter 6. The social capital survey used in Chapter 6 is based on the World Bank Social Capital Survey (Grootaert, 2004) and can be found in its entirety (translated into English) in Appendix 1. The 120 social capital surveys were divided among the five case study cooperatives based on the number of members in each cooperative. An attempt was made to interview 2% of the members of each of the five cooperatives, but only 1.4% of the membership of CoopeTarrazu was surveyed, due to the large size of the cooperative (2900 members), the large geographical area of the cooperative and time constraints.
Chapter 2 Table 2 : Summary of interviews and surveys conducted.
Case Study Cooperative CoopePilangosta
Administrators Interviewed Manager, Sales manager
Farming Social Capital Percent of Practices Surveys by membership Interviews by author surveyed author 19 11 11
Farming practices interviews by research assistant 0
Sales Manager, 4 agronomists
Manager, Agronomist, Board Member
Program Manager, Field Manager, Sales Manager
Manager, 2 board members
Two focus groups with members of CoopeLlano Bonito (one of the selected cooperative) were conducted to triangulate and verify results. A focus group/feedback session with managers at CooproNaranjo (one of the selected cooperative) was conducted to disseminate results and clarify timeline events. Data Analysis The results of the census of the twenty cooperatives were analyzed to find similarities and differences in the management and participation in certifications and to create a typology of cooperatives in relation to certifications. First, the relevant dimensions of analysis were determined to be the number of certifications in which the cooperative participate and the extent to which they participate (the percentage of the total harvest sold in each certification). Next the cooperatives were grouped by these relevant dimensions. The relationship between the relevant dimensions and the subordinate dimensions (number of members, size of harvest, motivations for certification) was analyzed and four types were developed. In the final stage of analysis, the four types were characterized and described. These descriptions can be found in the Methods section of Chapter 4.
Methods A cross-case thematic analysis of the four separate case studies (and, for Chapter 6, the mini-case study) was conducted (Sibelet et al., 2013). In this analysis several important themes of general interest were identified regarding organizational management. These themes include organizational culture, engagement and partnerships with stakeholders, structures of incentives and payments, advisory services and engagement in certifications. The outputs of this analysis were used to construct Tables 2 and 3 in Chapter 5 and Table 15 in Chapter 6. The four case study cooperatives were further analyzed using a time line analysis to determine changes in services provided to members and farming practices and the factors which influenced those changes. The timeline analysis used data from the farming practices interviews from the four cooperatives, the dates of implementation of certifications in each cooperative, the evolution of services in the cooperatives and partnerships and programs with stakeholders. Chapter 5 describes the
Chapter 3: Costa Rica’s Coffee Cooperative Sector
Costa Rica’s Coffee Cooperative Sector
Abstract Costa Rica provides an interesting setting to broaden the study of voluntary certifications. Governmental regulation ensures that producers are paid a minimum share of the added value of the coffee chain and that coffee quality meets export standards. The supply chain within Costa Rica is short, with producers selling directly to private or cooperative-owned mills. This eliminates middlemen who would buy coffee at the farm gate at below national market prices. Cooperatives play an important role in Costa Rica’s coffee industry. This chapter provides an overview of the cooperatives by region. Each region produces a different quality of coffee in function with the elevation.
Abstract Le Costa Rica offre un cadre intéressant permettant d'élargir l'étude de la certification volontaire. La réglementation gouvernementale s’assure que les producteurs reçoivent une part minimum de la valeur ajoutée de la filière du café, et que la qualité du produit soit conforme aux normes d'exportation. La chaîne d'approvisionnement au Costa Rica est courte : les producteurs vendent directement aux moulins privés ou aux moulins appartenant aux coopératives. Il n’y a donc pas d’intermédiaires qui achètent du café à la ferme en-dessous du prix du marché national. Les coopératives jouent un rôle important dans le secteur du café du Costa Rica. Ce chapitre donne un aperçu des coopératives par région. Chaque région produit une qualité différente de café, en fonction de l'altitude.
The Coffee Industry in Costa Rica In Costa Rica, coffee production is the principal source of income for 50,000 farmers. Ninety-two percent of these farmers have fewer than five hectares of land. These small and medium-holder farmers account for 40% of Costa Rica’s annual harvest (Icafe, 2013b). Coffee production in Costa Rica is highly technified and input-intensive (Rice, 2015). Classifications of Coffee Quality in Costa Rica The quality and price of coffee is largely dependent on the elevation at which it was produced (Bosselmann et al., 2009). Coffee quality in Costa Rica is classified as Strictly Hard Bean (SHB), Good Hard Bean (GHB), Hard Bean (HB), Medium Hard Bean (MHB), Medium Grown Atlantic (MGA), Low Grown Atlantic (LGA) and Pacific (P) (Castro, 2013); the first four of which are the most commonly produced in the cooperatives studied. See Table 3 for a summary of the coffee qualities found in regions with cooperatives. SHB is mainly grown between 1200 and 1700 meters above sea level (masl) in the Central Valley and Tarrazú, with some production in Coto Brus. SHB is valued for the hardness of the bean and its high acidity, body and aroma. GHB is produced between 1000 and 1200 masl, mainly in the West Valley. It is also known for the hardness of the bean and high acidity. Some lots have excellent aroma. HB is produced between 800 and 1200 masl in Guanacaste and parts of the West Valley. It has good body and aroma, but lower acidity than the previous varieties. MHB is produced at 400-1200 masl in Coto Brus and has medium hardness, body and aroma (Castro, 2013). Table 3: Classifications of coffee quality found in regions with cooperatives.
Classification Strictly Hard Bean (SHB)
Elevation (meters above sea level) 1200-1700
Good Hard Bean (GHB)
Central Valley, Tarrazú, Trés Rios West Valley
Hard Bean (HB)
Guanacaste, West Valley
Medium Hard Bean (MHB)
Main Regions of Production
Costa Rica’s Coffee Cooperative Sector Costa Rica’s coffee industry is carefully regulated by the National Coffee Institute (Icafe). Relationships between producers and mills were clarified in the Law of Relations of 1933. The law is a result of many conflicts between producers and millers which began at the end of the 19 th century. Before the law, the coffee industry was characterized by usurious lending practices on the part of the mills and below-market-prices paid to producers (N. L. Babin, 2012). This legislation increased the transparency of transactions between producers and millers and protected producers from the predatory practices that were complained about in the past (Castro, 2013). The law also created the Board of Sales (Junta de Liquidaciones) which fixed the final price paid to producers. Even though this law was not well-enforced, it represented an important step in the changing relationship between producers and millers (Castro, 2013). In 1948 the Oficina del Café (later Icafe) was created as an institution semi-autonomous from the state. Its five-member board of directors represented producers, millers, roasters and exporters. Its mission was to apply the Law of 1933 (Castro, 2013). The next step in regulating the relationship between producers, millers and exporters was Law 2762 which was passed in 1961 (Icafe, 1961). It clarified the legal price paid to producers. The law also prevented pre-harvest contract sales of coffee as well as price-to-be-fixed contracts in an attempt to protect producers from below-market prices (Castro, 2013). Addendums to the law require that the harvest is sold directly to the mill, effectively outlawing the existence of coyotes, or middlemen who buy coffee cherries directly from farmers at below-market prices (Icafe, 1961). Addendums to this law also regulate the quality of export coffee. The law stipulates amount of unripe coffee beans a mill can accept (2%), the minimum profit that mills can retain, and outlaws the production of the species robusta and certain inferior cultivars of arabica (Icafe, 1961). Producers deliver their harvest to either private or cooperative-owned mills. Mills may export the green coffee directly, sell the coffee to an exporter, or sell the coffee to a roaster for domestic consumption (Icafe, 2013b). See Figure 1.
Figure 1: Structure of the Costa Rican Coffee Industry. Adapted from Icafe (2013b).
At the time of the harvest, farmers receive payment for the cherries delivered to the mill. The price the mills pay to farmers is posted at the collection sites, or receivers (Castro, 2013). At cooperative mills this is called an adelanto, or an advance, because the mill has not yet been paid by the buyer. However, from the point of view of the farmer, this payment comes at the end of the production season (Luetchford, 2008). Cooperatives will pay up to two more ‘adjustments’ throughout the season to distribute profits to the members. Private mills do not pay adjustments (Castro, 2013). Farmers’ organizations in Costa Rica’s coffee industry Collective action has a long history in the coffee industry in Costa Rica. The first recorded meeting of coffee producers organizing to defend their interests is in 1903 in the region of Tres Ríos. In the following forty years producers in other regions of the country met to ‘free themselves from the 48
Costa Rica’s Coffee Cooperative Sector tyranny of the mills’ (Castro, 2013). Farmers’ organizations in Costa Rica are classified into associations, cooperatives and consortia, each of which are governed by different legislation (Faure, Le Coq, & Rodriguez, 2011). The Ley de Asociaciones 218 governs associations and the Ley del Cooperativismo 4179 governs cooperatives
(Gobierno de Costa Rica, 1968). Costa Rica’s first
cooperative mill was CoopeVictoria in Grecia, West Valley. CoopeVictoria was formed in 1943 when the Costa Rican government seized the private mill of the German Niehaus family and allowed the producers in the area to form a cooperative (Castro, 2013). The 1960s saw an increase in the development of the coffee cooperative sector. Cooperatives opened nearly every year between 1958 and 1972 in all coffee-growing regions of the country (Castro, 2013). The 1960s also saw the creation of the Federation of Cooperatives of Coffee Growers (FEDECOOP) which was created to increase cooperatives’ agency in exportation (N. L. Babin, 2012). Cooperatives purchase ripe coffee cherries from members and provide services such as milling, commercialization, credit, training, advisory services. Today approximately 40% of exports are processed by cooperative-owned mills (Icafe, 2013b). The policies that support the cooperative sector have been credited with preserving small-holder agriculture and easing rural unrest (N. L. Babin, 2012). Cooperatives are an important vehicle for communicating new information to producers and providing access to services, such as marketing, credit and access to affordable inputs (Luetchford, 2008). Members of cooperatives are more likely to employ new agricultural practices than small non-affiliated producers and cooperatives are more likely than private mills to employ an agronomist to give agricultural advice to members (Castro, 2013).
Costa Rican Cooperatives and Regions Costa Rica is divided into eight coffee-growing regions, six of which have active cooperatives. Cooperatives are found in the Central and West Valleys (Valle Central and Valle Occidental), Trés Rios, Tarrazú, Guanacaste and Coto Brus (Brunca). No cooperatives are located in Orosi or Turrialba
Chapter 3 (See Figure 2). Cooperatives are diverse and for example vary greatly in size from CoopeSantaElena in Monteverde with 25 members to CoopeTarrazu in Tarrazú with 2900 members.
Figure 2: Map of coffee producing areas in Costa Rica and location of coffee cooperatives. Red stars indicate cooperatives which were visited for this study. Purple stars indicate cooperatives which were not visited. Source, (Icafe, 2013b).
Costa Rica’s Coffee Cooperative Sector
Central Valley, West Valley and Trés Rios Cooperatives Coffee production began at the end of the eighteenth century in the Central Valley and at the beginning of the nineteenth century in the West Valley. These were the first areas of coffee production in Costa Rica and they enjoy close proximity to the capital (Icafe, 2013b). Together the two regions harvested 37% of the country’s coffee in the 2013/2014 season (Icafe, 2014). Cooperatives in the Central Valley are CoopeAlejuela and CoopeLibertad. Cooperatives in the West Valley are CoopeVictoria, CoopeMontaña, CooproNaranjo, CoopePalmares and CoopeAtenas. CoopeUnion is located in Trés Rios.
Tarrazú Cooperatives Coffee production began in the Tarrazú (Los Santos) region at the time when the last cultivable land in the Central and West Valleys had already been claimed (Icafe, 2013b). Tarrazu is an important region for coffee production in Costa Rica, and produced 40% of the national harvest in the 2013/2014 harvest season (Icafe, 2014). The Tarrazú region has three coffee cooperatives, CoopeLlano Bonito, CoopeTarrazú and CoopeDota, which are located in the highest elevations of the region. Coffee production is important to the economy of the region and there is a lot of competition from private micro-mills. The Tarrazú region (along with the West Valley) produces some of the highest quality coffee in Costa Rica. Guanacaste Cooperatives The Guanacaste region is composed of the cantons of Guanacaste, Puntarenas and Alajuela and is located in the north of the country. Most of the production in this area is between 600 and 1000 meters above sea level, with the exception of the Monteverde area which ranges from 600 to 1350 meters above sea level (Icafe, 2013b). This region produced less that 2% of the Costa Rica’s 2013/2014 harvest (Icafe, 2014).
Chapter 3 Guanacaste cooperatives are CoopePilangosta, CoopeCerro Azul, Coope Santa Elena, CoopEl Dos, CoopeMontes de Oro, and CoopeSarapiquí. Due to its remote location and financial instability, CoopeMontes de Oro was not visited for this study. Coto Brus (Brunca) Cooperatives Coffee production moved into Coto Brus in the 1960s. The Coto Brus region produced 16% of the Costa Rican coffee harvest in 2013/2014 (Icafe, 2014). The coffee plantations in this region are more fragmented than in the historic centers of production like the Central Valley. This has resulted in smaller farm size and fewer large estates in this region (N. Babin, 2014). There is a cluster of three cooperatives in Coto Brus near the Panamanian border: CoopeSan Vito, CoopeSabalito and CoopePueblos. CoopeAgri is located farther north in San Isidro de El General. CoopeAngeles is also located in this area but was not visited due to the remote location and the lack of viable contact information. It is not included in the data in this document. All are cooperatives of small-scale farmers located over 250 km from the capital. Because of the diversity of the described above, cooperatives in the different regions choose to pursue different certifications based on the quality and amount of coffee produced, as well as on their individual marketing strategies. The factors which determine the extent of participation of different types of cooperatives are further discussed in Chapter 4. The choices that cooperatives make regarding the management of certifications and the market incentives which influence these choices have implications for the promotion of sustainable farming practices (Chapter 5) and on the equality and solidarity within the cooperative (Chapter 6).
The frequency of certifications is
summarized in Figure 3, which is based on the results of the census of cooperatives.
Costa Rica’s Coffee Cooperative Sector
100 90 80 70 60
Fair Trade CAFE Practices
20 10 0 Central/West Valley
Figure 3 : Cooperatives' participation in certifications by region. Source: Author’s data.
Chapter 4: Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? Based on a manuscript by Anna Snider, Guy Faure, Isabel Gutiérrez, Nicole Sibelet
submitted for publication
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica?
Abstract To better understand how certifications function in the social and political milieu of Costa Rican coffee cooperatives, we must first understand the role that cooperatives play in the management of voluntary certifications and what factors cooperative administrators consider when making decisions regarding their participation in certifications. The information presented in this chapter will be further analyzed in subsequent chapter to better understand effects of certifications at the cooperative level and how management decisions are influenced by the social context of the cooperative sector. A census of twenty cooperatives from all coffee-producing regions was conducted to gather basic information regarding participation in and management of certifications. Cooperatives were then grouped by participation in certifications, and four different types of cooperatives emerged. Four cooperatives of different types were selected for case studies to further explore the role of cooperatives in the management of certifications. Our research examines the role cooperatives play in helping smallholder farmers access coffee certifications and addresses the discrepancy in the literature about financial incentives paid to farmers and cooperatives. Costa Rican cooperatives participate in a variety of certifications, with many holding two or more certifications. Price incentives and demand for certified coffee often fluctuate with the global coffee market. There are no significant or consistent financial incentives for farmers to pursue certification. Multiple certifications may lower auditing and implementation costs, but cooperatives rarely receive the full premium for multiply-certified coffee. Low market demand for certified coffee, weak price incentives and high auditing and management costs encourage cooperatives to certify only a portion of their members. This strategy rewards compliant farmers rather than inducing widespread change to farming practices among the entire membership. Cooperatives may provide in-kind support to farmers such as the provision of equipment or plant material or offer specialized training to help members comply with certification. Though financial
Chapter 4 incentives are weak, certifications offer non-financial benefits to both farmers and cooperatives, including better management and more resilient cooperatives.
Abstract Pour mieux comprendre comment les certifications fonctionnent dans le contexte social et politique des coopératives de café du Costa Rica, nous devons d'abord comprendre le rôle que jouent ces coopératives dans la gestion des certifications volontaires, et quels facteurs les administrateurs des coopératives considèrent lorsqu'ils prennent la décision de participer à une certification. Les données présentées dans ce chapitre sont analysées en détail afin de mieux comprendre les effets des certifications au niveau de la coopérative, ainsi que l’influence du contexte social sur les décisions de gestion du secteur coopératif. . Un recensement de vingt coopératives issues de toutes les régions productrices de café a été réalisé, afin de recueillir des informations concernant la participation à la certification ainsi que sa gestion. Les coopératives ont ensuite été regroupées en fonction du critère de la participation à des certifications, et quatre types différents de coopératives ont été identifiés. Nous avons sélectionné une coopérative par type de participation pour réaliser des études de cas visant à explorer le rôle des coopératives dans la gestion des certifications. Ce chapitre examine le rôle que jouent les coopératives dans l’accès des petits producteurs à la certification. Il aborde aussi les désaccords concernant les incitations financières versées aux agriculteurs et aux coopératives. Nous avons interrogé les administrateurs de vingt coopératives de café du Costa Rica à propos des pratiques de gestion liées à la certification volontaire. Nous avons aussi mené des études de cas approfondies de quatre coopératives. Les coopératives costaricaines participent à plusieurs types de certifications, beaucoup d’entre elles ayant deux certifications ou plus. Le prix et la demande pour le café certifié fluctuent souvent avec le marché mondial. Il n'y a pas d’incitation économique importante pour les agriculteurs à poursuivre la certification. Les multiples certifications peuvent abaisser les coûts d’audit et de mise en œuvre, mais les coopératives reçoivent
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? rarement la totalité de la prime issue de la combinaison de plusieurs certifications. Les coopératives sont encouragées à certifier seulement une partie de leurs membres du fait de la faible demande pour du café certifié, de la faiblesse des motivations économiques et des coûts élevés d'audit et de gestion. Cette stratégie récompense les agriculteurs qui sont conformes aux critères de la certification au lieu de généraliser un changement dans les pratiques agricoles de l’ensemble des membres. Les coopératives peuvent fournir un soutien en nature aux agriculteurs, tels que de l'équipement et du matériel végétal, ou offrir une formation spécialisée visant à aider les membres à se conformer à la certification. Bien que les motivations économiques soient faibles, les certifications offrent des avantages non-financiers aux agriculteurs et aux coopératives, ainsi qu‘une meilleure gestion, ce qui les rend moins vulnérables.
Introduction Voluntary coffee certifications, such as Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance, have attempted to decommoditize coffee and mitigate the effects of the crisis of coffee prices (Muradian & Pelupessy, 2005). Certifications were created with the broad goal of creating a segment of the specialty coffee market (Daviron & Ponte, 2005) in which social, economic and/or environmental production practices are verified and incentivized (Rice, 2015), however the distribution of financial incentives along the value chain is not always transparent (Daviron & Vagneron, 2011). Coffee certifications, in particular Fair Trade, have been found to be an effective tool in improving the livelihoods of producers (Bacon, Mendez, Gomez, Stuart, & Flores, 2008) while other authors highlight modest effects on producer income, particularly during times of economic crisis (Lyon, 2007; Raynolds, 2002; Ruben, Fort, & Zuñiga-Arias, 2009). Notwithstanding this evidence on the positive impact on producers’ wellbeing, coffee certifications receive criticism in the popular press for not significantly affecting farmer livelihoods. Some studies highlight the meager economic benefits associated with certifications while ignoring the non-economic benefits that certifications offer to farmers and their organizations (Omidvar & Giannakas, 2015). Other studies find that environmental change at the farm level is limited by self-selection of compliant farmers (Kirumba & Pinard, 2010). Intersectoral partnerships for certified coffee often favor estates over small-holder farmers (Bitzer, Francken, & Glasbergen, 2008). Without the assistance of farmers’ organizations, small-holders cannot access certifications or their benefits (Wollni & Zeller, 2007). It has been argued that the certification strategies of cooperatives have little effect on the gross margins to its members (Beuchelt & Zeller, 2013), yet other studies have shown that certifications, particularly Fair Trade, strengthen cooperatives (Bacon, 2005; Ronchi, 2002; Ruben et al., 2009). For these reasons it is important to have a better understanding of what factors cooperatives consider when making decisions about certifications and which strategies they use to manage them. 58
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? Despite the research available on the effect of certifications on producer livelihoods, little work is directed toward the role cooperatives play in the process of certification, with the exception of Fair Trade (Ronchi, 2002; Valkila & Nygren, 2010) and to a lesser extent, certified organic (Mutersbaugh, 2002). Farmers’ organizations are not only intermediaries between different certification agencies and the producers, they represent the actors who participate fully in decisions relative to certification such as which certifications to pursue, how many and which members to certify and how to distribute the profits, if any, from selling certified products (Faure, Le Coq, et al., 2012). The dynamics of the global market for certified coffee and the certification standards themselves influence how farmers’ organizations manage certifications. This research examines the influence and implications certifications have on these management decisions, using a case study of Costa Rica. The Costa Rican Coffee Sector Costa Rica has a long history of collective action in the coffee industry, starting in 1903 when farmers first organized themselves to defend their interests against large exporters (Castro, 2013). Many cooperatives entered into the certified coffee market with Fair Trade certification, which was first available in Costa Rica in 1988 (Luetchford, 2008). Costa Rica is an important producer of certified coffee and its production of standard-compliant coffee approaches 30% of the country’s total production (Potts et al., 2014). Unlike many of its Latin American neighbors, coffee production in Costa Rica is dominated by smallholder farmers. Ninety-two percent of the nation’s coffee farmers have farms of less than 5 hectares. The harvest from farms of less than 5 hectares represents 40.5% of the nation’s total harvest (Icafe, 2014). Costa Rica is Central America’s fourth-largest coffee producer, after Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala (International Coffee Organization, 2015). The majority of coffee production in Costa Rica is under at least one species of shade tree (Instituto Nacional de Estadisticas y Censos, 2007) and is heavily-dependent on agrochemical inputs (Rice, 1999).
Chapter 4 In Costa Rica, farmers’ organizations are classified into associations, cooperatives and consortia of cooperatives, each classification enjoying a distinct legal status (Faure et al., 2011). Cooperatives of small farmers own 10% of the coffee mills in Costa Rica and process 40% of the coffee produced in Costa Rica (Icafe, 2013a). Cooperatives are firms owned by their members and distribute profits to their members at the end of every year (Gobierno de Costa Rica, 1968). Consortia are second-level cooperatives, or groups of cooperatives. Cooperatives (Faure, Le Coq, et al., 2012) and consortia (Ronchi, 2002) are the most important modes in which small farmers in Costa Rica access coffee certifications1. In this article we will consider only cooperatives and consortia of cooperatives because of their importance in the certification process. Costa Rica’s coffee sector is regulated by the government through the semi-autonomous Costa Rican Coffee Institute (Icafe). The quality and reputation of Costa Rican coffee is carefully protected by Icafe, which prohibits the production of the species robusta (Castro, 2013) and certain cultivars of arabica (Icafe, 2013b) and prohibits mills from accepting deliveries with greater than 2% unripe cherries (Icafe, 1961). Costa Rica also regulates quality by retaining 2% of the lowest quality coffee from the export market (Varangis, 2003). Icafe protects producers by limiting the amount mills can charge for their services and requiring that mills receive deliveries directly from producers (Icafe, 1961), effectively outlawing coyotes, or middlemen who buy coffee at the farmgate at below-market prices. For these reasons Costa Rica is an appropriate country in which to study how small farmer cooperatives manage voluntary coffee certifications and to examine how the dynamics of the industry affect these cooperatives. Voluntary Coffee Certifications and Global Production There are numerous voluntary coffee certifications currently available to producers and consumers. The most important in terms of volume is 4C, which accounts for 22% of global coffee production (Potts et al., 2014). The goal of 4C certification, which focuses on environmental and social criteria, is 60
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? the mainstreaming of sustainable coffee. Therefore the certification standards are less strict than those for other certifications (4C Association, 2012), which accounts for the large supply of certified product. Utz certified coffee accounts for 9% of global production (Potts et al., 2014). Standards are based on EurepGap criteria and focus on social and environmental aspects of farming practices (Utz Certified, 2015). Traceability is also an important aspect of Utz certification, which originally emerged as an industry-led initiative (Raynolds et al., 2007). CAFE (Coffee and Farmer Equity) Practices is the verified sourcing program of the Starbucks Corporation and accounts for 6% of global production (Potts et al., 2014). Standards focus on traceability and origin, issues at the heart of the company’s mission to provide ‘the finest coffee’ (Raynolds, 2009) but also include requirements in social responsibility and environmental leadership (Starbucks Coffee Company, 2012). Fair Trade, which accounts for 5% of global production (Potts et al., 2014), is the only certification which requires that producers are organized in a democratic organization and the only certification program with a minimum price. The certification also includes a $0.20/pound social premium. Members are required to vote annually on how this social premium will be distributed. The certification focuses on environmental and social standards (Fairtrade International, 2014). Rainforest Alliance-compliant coffee accounts for 3% of global production (Potts et al., 2014). Rainforest Alliance is the certification program of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN). Standards focus on wildlife conservation and workers’ welfare and are based on the principle of integrated pest management and the reduced use of agrochemicals (Rainforest Alliance & SalvaNatura, 2010).
Chapter 4 Organic-compliant production comprises 3% of the world’s coffee production (Potts et al., 2014). Organic certification is mainly focused on small farms. Standards strictly regulate the use of agrochemicals (Raynolds et al., 2007). Nespresso AAA is the quality and sustainability program of Nestlé and accounts for 3% of global standard-compliant production (Potts et al., 2014). The standards are based on the SAN standards of Rainforest Alliance, but with fewer social requirements and higher quality (organoleptic) standards (Soto & Le Coq, 2011). While the market for certified coffee is growing, so is the gap between the production of standardcompliant coffee and the sales of certified coffee. Sales of certified coffee accounted for only 8% of global exports in 2009, less than half of the global supply of standard-compliant coffee (Potts, Van Der Meer, & Daitchman, 2010). The insufficient demand for certified coffee means that standardcompliant coffee must often be sold on the conventional market (Sick, 2008). Low demand limits the number of cooperatives that can participate in certifications (Muradian & Pelupessy, 2005), undermining potential upgrades to the sustainability of farms and cooperatives. In 2012 sales of certified-compliant coffee rose to 12% of global exports and production of certifiedcompliant coffee reached 49% of global exports (Potts et al., 2014). Production of standardcompliant coffee is dominated by Latin America, with Brazil producing 40% of the world supply, followed by Colombia (17%), Vietnam (15%), Peru (6%) and Honduras (3%). Costa Rica produces 1% of the world’s supply of standard-compliant coffee (Potts et al., 2014). This research attempts to clarify the role of cooperatives in the certification process and the dynamics of financial and non-financial incentives for producers and cooperatives. Section 3.1 examines the strategies and methods that Costa Rican coffee cooperatives use to implement and the factors that cooperatives consider when developing these strategies. Section 3.2 addresses the financial incentives paid to small farmer cooperatives and how these incentives fluctuate with changes in the world price of coffee and with different certifications. Section 3.3 addresses whether 62
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? the certifications provide a direct financial incentive to members or in-kind contributions. We conclude with some perspectives on certifications in the global market.
Materials and Methods This study is based on field data collected in two phases in 2013 and 2014 with follow-up communications with participants in 2015. Data focus on the management of certifications at the cooperative level. Phase one consisted of semi-structured interviews (N. Sibelet et al., 2013) with twenty-one managers, eight agronomist/technicians, two bookkeepers and eight board members of twenty of the twenty-two coffee cooperatives in Costa Rica. The remaining two cooperatives were not visited because of geographical remoteness. Interviews collected both quantitative (number of members, amount of coffee processed in the past harvest, amount of certified coffee produced and sold, number of members and area of land included in various certifications, auditing fees, premiums and differentials received for certified coffee in current and past years, etc.) and qualitative data (strategy of the cooperative, method of managing certifications, reasons for pursuing certifications, product separation and traceability, strategies for paying farmers etc.). The data in this paper also include a review of cooperative assembly minutes, newsletters and policy documents. Pricing data is from examples given by cooperative managers and not from an analysis of contracts. We analyzed managerial practices and decision making processes. Data from the twenty cooperatives were compiled and analyzed based on the size of the cooperatives, the class of coffee produced and the geographical location of the cooperative. Data is not available for all cooperatives for all harvests. As not all cooperatives participate in all certifications, pricing data for certifications are not applicable to all cooperatives. Phase two consisted of an analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data from case studies (Yin, 2009) of four cooperatives. Data were collected at farm level at Cooperatives numbers 1, 3, 6 and 19 as part of a larger study on certifications. The four case-study cooperatives were chosen for their diversity of type (according to a typology developed in Phase one and described below), geographical
Chapter 4 diversity and diversity of certifications (See Table 3). A stratified sample of one hundred twenty members from the four cooperatives was surveyed about their perceptions of the management of the cooperative, certifications and incentives. Members were also asked about their participation in activities of the cooperative and their farming practices. Their opinions are reflected in this work as direct quotes. Interviews were conducted in Spanish, the first language of the interviewees, and quotes were translated by the first author. Two focus groups were held at Cooperative 1, each with twenty farmers participating, to determine the farmers’ knowledge about and interest in certifications and to confirm conclusions from the individual interviews. Interview data were processed and interpreted according the thematic analysis method described in Sibelet et al. (2013). Table 3: Summary of case study cooperatives.
Case Study Coop Coop 1 Coop 3 Coop 6
Region Tarrazú Guanacaste West Valley
Size Small Small Large
Type 2 1 4
Certifications Fair Trade, CAFE Practices Fair Trade, Organic CAFE Practices, Utz, Rainforest Alliance, AAA CAFE Practices, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, Harvested by Women
The results and conclusions generated were triangulated by interviews with leaders of consortia of cooperatives (Suscof, Coocafe and Cafecoop), certifying agencies, non-governmental organizations, governmental organizations and buyers of certified coffee. Data focuses on the management of certifications at the cooperative level.
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica?
Results and Discussion Implementation of Certifications by Costa Rican Coffee Cooperatives A Typology of Cooperatives
Costa Rican coffee cooperatives can be divided into small, medium and large cooperatives (See Table 4). This division is based on the quantity of green coffee processed by the cooperative, the number of members and the total surface area of the members’ farms. Using this division, Costa Rica has twelve small coffee cooperatives, six medium and four large.
Table 4: Categorization of Costa Rican coffee cooperatives by size of harvest, number of members and total surface area.
Categorization of Coffee Cooperatives in Costa Rica by Size Small Med Quantity of Harvest in 1000s of Kg* <1150 1150-2300 Number of Members <800 800-1400 Total surface area (ha) of members’ farms <1500 1500-4,000 Number of coops in category 12 6 *Based on 2012/2013 harvest Source: Authors' research
Large >2300 >1400 >4000 4
The majority of coffee cooperatives in Costa Rica (82%) have at least one coffee certification. Twenty-seven percent of the cooperatives have one certification, 23% have two, and 32% have three or more certifications. Fair Trade is the most popular certification in Costa Rica with 63% of the cooperatives participating and is mostly found among the small and medium cooperatives (See Figure 4).
CAFE Practices certification is held by 36% of the cooperatives and certification is well-distributed among small, medium and large cooperatives. However all of the eight cooperatives which participate in CAFE Practices (with one exception) are in areas of high elevation, that is to say they are producers of high-value coffee.
Chapter 4 Rainforest Alliance and Utz certifications are both held by 23% of the cooperatives. These certifications are also concentrated among large and medium-sized cooperatives located at high elevations. Four cooperatives (18%) have organic certification. In Costa Rica organic certification is held only by small cooperatives which are located at low to mid elevations2.
Fewer than 10% of the cooperatives in Costa Rica participate in other certifications such as Nepresso AAA, 4C and Harvested by Women, which made its first sales of certified coffee in 2013 and does not yet appear in world statistics of certified coffee (for more information see (International Trade Centre, 2012)). These less-popular certifications are mainly held by large cooperatives.
Number of Cooperatives with Certification
16 14 12 10 Large
4 2 0 Fair Trade
Figure 4: Distribution of certifications among the different sizes of cooperatives.
Costa Rican coffee cooperatives do not participate in certifications to the same extent. We categorized the twenty-two cooperatives based on the certifications in which they participate and the extent of their participation (percentage of total harvest sold in each certification). As we can see from Table 5, some patterns emerge in size, elevation and motivations for certifying. 66
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? Type 1 cooperatives are dependent on the consortium Coocafe for their participation in Fair Trade certification. They are all small cooperatives located in marginal coffee growing areas. These cooperatives may need Fair Trade to add value to their product for which demand is low (Kessari, 2011). Five of the six cooperatives in this group have had Fair Trade certification since it was first offered in Costa Rica. However, four of the cooperatives are certified but not active in Fair Trade due to financial difficulties. Those cooperatives in the group which currently actively participate in Fair Trade (N=2) sell at least 30% of their harvest with Fair Trade certification. Three of the four Costa Rican cooperatives which participate in organic certification are in this group. Type 1 cooperatives pursue certifications for economic reasons, with the certification premium being the most important reason which was cited by 100% of the cooperatives in this group. One cooperative in this group added that entering new markets is also an important motivation. Type 2 cooperatives have a medium to high dependence on certifications and sell 15-70% of their harvest as certified. They are small to medium in size and all but one are at mid elevations. All of the cooperatives in this group participate in Fair Trade and two currently participate in other certifications (CAFE Practices, organic, and Utz). Three of the four cooperatives in this group entered Fair Trade certification during the coffee crisis between 1999 and 2004, over ten years after it was first available in Costa Rica. The premium associated with certifications (Fair Trade in particular) is also very important to Type 2 cooperatives and was cited by 100% of the respondents. Unlike Type 1 cooperatives, Type 2 cooperatives recount many secondary reasons for adopting certifications. These motivations often include indirect benefits to members. Seventy-five percent of the cooperatives in this group cited these types of benefits, such as improving cultivation and pesticide handling practices, or access to more training for members. The agronomist at a small Type 2 cooperative stated that the biggest benefit of certifications ‘is to protect the farmer. In the past the farmers stirred pesticides with their hands and did not wear personal protective equipment.’ Others (50%) cited entering new markets or client requests as an important motivation.
Chapter 4 Type 3 is composed of small, medium and large cooperatives with very little participation in certifications. These cooperatives are located at mid to high elevations and generally find that, because their coffee is in high demand due to its quality and distinctive characteristics, they do not need to participate in certifications. The manager of one Type 3 cooperative says, ‘Certifications are not worth the trouble.’ Type 4 cooperatives are engaged in multiple certifications, but sell a small percentage of their total harvest in any one certification. They are medium (50%) to large (50%) in size and produce high quality coffee at high elevations. All cooperatives in this group participate in at least three certifications; all six are certified in CAFE Practices, five in Rainforest Alliance, four in Fair Trade, and three in Utz. These cooperatives find that the high demand for their coffee helps them compete in CAFE Practices and Rainforest Alliance and often become certified at the request of an existing buyer. A manager at Cooperative 6, a large Type 4 cooperative, said, ‘We began with Rainforest Alliance because an important buyer…requested it and would only buy certified coffee.’ Four of the six Type 4 cooperatives pursue Fair Trade certification alongside other certifications. These cooperatives, which have more resources in terms of skilled employees and access to credit than Type 1 and 2 cooperatives, choose to manage the certification themselves, rather than through a consortium such as Coocafe. This allows them to focus on buyers who are looking for high quality Fair Trade coffee or buyers who are looking for double certifications, for example Fair Trade-CAFE Practices. Other cooperatives in this group find that other certifications or even conventional coffee are more lucrative options. A manager at Cooperative 6 stated ‘Fair Trade is a good tool for strengthening small cooperatives in Guanacaste [the low-altitude coffee-growing areas], but cooperatives with high quality coffee do not need it.’ Type 4 cooperatives were the only type to list environmental motivations for pursuing certifications. Five of the six cooperatives see certifications as opportunity to increase the environmental sustainability of the cooperative. A manager at Cooperative 19 explains, ‘The certifications encourage
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? sustainability, the application of their criteria in our programs of work has helped to improve these aspects in the farms and in the communities…we have improved the environmental conditions of our farms and the operation of our coffee mill [to a point where their operation has] almost no environmental impact.’ Two of the six cooperatives have ambitious sustainability programs which predate their participation in certifications. They emphasize that the sustainability programs are not a result of certifications, but certifications help them achieve the goals of these programs by providing incentives to pursue alternative energy sources and increasing the environmental efficiency of the mill. Certification premiums are also an important motivation cited by 83% of the cooperatives.
Table 5: Typology of Costa Rican coffee cooperatives.
Type 1 Small/Marginal Coocafe Dependent
Type 2 Medium dependence on Fair Trade
Type 3 Low to no participation in certifications
Type 4 Diversified Certifications
Small to large
Low to mid
Mid to high
Mid to High
Fair Trade or FT/Organic
Fair Trade, may try other certifications, but they often find they cannot maintain them because of lack of demand or personnel
One or fewer certifications.
Three or more certifications
Amount of certified coffee sold
Financially-dependent on Coocafe. Those currently exporting sell at least 30% in Fair Trade.
Medium dependence on certification. Sell 15-60% of the harvest in Fair Trade.
<5% of harvest sold with certification
< 30% of total harvest sold in any one certification.
Financial but also to Little interest in provide more services certifications. to members.
Request of important buyers and environmental reasons.
Reasons to certify Number of cooperatives
Source: Authors’ research Not All Certified Coffee Finds a Market Demand for certified coffee is low compared to supply. In Table 6 we can see that cooperatives can satisfy demand for certified coffee sales by certifying an average of only 5% of their members for Rainforest Alliance or 3% for Utz. Even though cooperatives may certify only a small percentage of their members, they may still find themselves with more certified coffee than potential buyers (See Table 4). The average of certified production to certified sales ranges from 30% with Fair Trade to 75% with organic. Fair Trade is the most extreme example because 100% of the cooperatives’ farms must be certified, regardless of the demand for certified product.
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? Table 6: Certified coffee sold as percentage of certification-compliant coffee produced and as percentage of total harvest.
Average percentage of Average % of certification-compliant Average percentage of members production sold with total harvest sold with Certifications certified certification certification Fair Trade 100* 30 30 CAFE Practices 33 55 15 Rainforest Alliance 5 58 9 Utz 3 53 4 Organic 53 NA 3 *Fair Trade does not allow individual certification NB: Data are from the 2012/13 harvest Source: Authors' research Costa Rican coffee cooperatives do a better-than-average job of matching certified production to certified sales by focusing on more selective certifications like CAFE Practices and Rainforest Alliance. Globally 25% of certification-compliant production is sold as certified coffee (Potts et al., 2014). A large part of the oversupply on the global level is due to the oversupply of 4C certified coffee, due to its low barriers to entry. When 4C certification is excluded from global averages, the proportion of production to sales becomes 56%, closer to Costa Rica’s proportion of 53% for Utz, 55% for CAFE Practices and 58% for Rainforest Alliance. Barriers to certifications Cooperatives in Costa Rica are well-positioned to comply with certification standards because many of the requirements coincide with Costa Rican environmental and social laws and coffee sector regulations. With training (and a financial incentive to do so) Costa Rican farmers normally are able to comply with the certification requirements. Because the majority of Costa Rican coffee farms have at least one species of shade tree (Instituto Nacional de Estadisticas y Censos, 2007) and because of technicalities in the certification standards which allow for the possibility of farms with minimal amounts of shade to be certified (Soto & Le Coq, 2011), planting shade trees in not considered a barrier to certification in Costa Rica.
Chapter 4 Organic certification, however, remains a challenge and the majority of the members of Costa Rican cooperatives feel it is very difficult to implement. Coffee production in Costa Rica is input-intensive, and the transition to organic production results in a reduction in yield of about 50% (Kilian, Jones, Pratt, & Villalobos, 2006; Soto & Le Coq, 2011). In countries with lower average productivity in conventional production, such as Guatemala, where organic is on average 23% less productive than conventional or in Nicaragua, where the conversion to organic results in an average reduction in yield of 29%, organic production is more attractive (Soto & Le Coq, 2011). However, Costa Rica does have a relative disadvantage when competing on the global certifiedcoffee market because high costs of production (Varangis, 2003). A mid-elevation Type 2 cooperative decided to discontinue its CAFE Practices certification because of this disadvantage. The cooperative was able to meet the requirements and flavor profile demanded by Starbucks. However, after one year with the certification this cooperative realized that there was no market for its coffee. A corporate buyer for Starbucks explains that, while the company does buy the class of coffee produced in this area, they often buy it from other countries where the final sale price is lower than the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) price. ‘We have a use for those coffees, but it is a matter of price. I have access to the same quality coffee at -$0.10 [per pound below the NYSE price] from Brazil….Their cost of production [in Brazil] is far far less than any country in Central America. It is very difficult for these countries to compete with…Brazil. That’s the reality that many cooperatives [in Costa Rica] face.’ Therefore, because of the high cost of production in Costa Rica, Fair Trade and organic certifications are often needed to add value to low elevation coffee, which is otherwise overpriced on the global market. Low elevation cooperatives produce high quality coffee (in terms of low percentage of diseased or unripe beans) in accordance with the strict Icafe standards. However low altitude coffee has different organoleptic qualities and is less sought-after on the world market.
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? Other certifications are effectively only available to the producers of high altitude coffee because buyers are willing to pay a premium for the quality and distinctive flavor profile. Nevertheless, cooperatives with highly-demanded coffee may still have to limit their participation in certifications because of the strain certifications can put on the human resources of the cooperative. Small and medium-size cooperatives may not have enough employees to manage certifications, in particular agronomists, who must be available for farm visits, trainings and recordkeeping. As the sole agronomists at Cooperative 1 said, ‘Two certifications is a lot [of work], three certifications would kill me.’ The management costs of certifications may be substantial and include the implementation of an internal control system if one does not already exist, auditing costs, hiring of new employees, additional time spent in meetings and trainings and possible upgrades to the mill. Cooperatives often reserve a portion of the certification premium, if there is one, to cover the additional cost they must bear. Auditing costs per hectare vary greatly in function with the number of members certified and the size of the farmers’ organization (Soto & Le Coq, 2011) and by the number of certifications that the organization holds. Cooperatives with multiple certifications may be able to receive a discount from auditors if the auditor is licensed to audit for multiple certifications. The agronomist from Cooperative 1, a small cooperative with two certifications explains, ‘The audit can be made for two certifications [at the same time] with the visit of the same inspector who takes data at the field level, at the mill and the office level. In other words, one inspector visits the farms and the mill and we get a slightly reduced cost and the arrangements are made for two certifications.’ Table 7 outlines the auditing costs incurred by cooperatives in 2013, but other, less easily quantifiable costs, can be substantial. These direct and indirect costs can be a significant barrier to the adoption of certifications, but as found in previous studies (Carlsen, Hansen, & Lund, 2012; Ton et al., 2007), cooperatives were not able to precisely quantify these costs.
Chapter 4 Table 7: Average auditing costs incurred by cooperatives.
Certifications Fair Trade CAFE Practices Rainforest Alliance Utz Organic *Data are from 2013
Average annual audit costs per cooperative in US$* 4500 3900 4500 2600 1500
Average annual audit costs per certified member, US$ 10 47 163 131 150
Deciding who to certify Collective certification is a requirement of Fair Trade, but all other certifications allow cooperatives to certify a portion of their members. Despite this, some cooperatives still choose collective certifications because they feel that is it in line with the tenets of cooperativism: all members should be equal with equal payment and access to services. For this reason two cooperatives choose to certify all of their members in CAFE Practices certification even though both cooperatives sold less than 25% of their total harvest with the CAFE Practices certification in 2012/2013. The agronomist at Cooperative 1 clarifies, ‘The message that we want to give to the producers is that everyone is equal.’ This means extra work for the technical staff in terms of farm visits and trainings for all members rather than just for a select few. However, this approach has greater potential to change farming practices, because cooperatives use the certification standards to improve the farming practices of all members, rather than as a reward for a small number of producers who already comply with the standards. Collective certifications, however, are exceptional. Due to the limited demand for certified coffee and the difficulty of getting all members of a cooperative to comply with all of the certification guidelines, most cooperatives decide to certify only a portion of their members, often fewer than 5%. All cooperatives in Costa Rica with Rainforest Alliance and Utz certifications and 75% of cooperatives with CAFE Practices currently certify only individual farmers. 74
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? Certifying individual members is a strategy to reduce the costs of internal monitoring and external auditing. Individual certifications also reduce the strain on the technical staff, since certifications require agronomists and other technicians to visit farms more frequently to assist members in the implementation of new farming practices. In the case of individual certification the cooperative maintains ownership of the certification and manages all paperwork associated with it. This service is essential for small farmers’ access to certifications. A member of cooperative 6 with five hectares certified in Rainforest Alliance explains ‘Without the cooperative it wouldn’t be worth the trouble to pursue certifications as a private farm. The coop takes care of all the certification paperwork.’ The certified members can sell certified coffee exclusively through the cooperative and are responsible for farm-level record keeping. Cooperatives make the certifications available to all members, but in reality it is the farmers who attend most of the cooperatives’ trainings and already comply with the majority of the rules of certification (do not use pesticides prohibited by certification, produce their crop under shade and have the facilities to store pesticides) who are aware of and participate in individual certifications. Cooperatives often approach the members they feel are the best candidates for certification. One certified member of Cooperative 19 said that the agronomists from the cooperative ‘looked for me [to participate in Rainforest Alliance certification] because I had a lot of shade trees.’ Kirumba and Pinard (2010) observed the same strategy in Kenya, noting that individual certifications focus on rewarding progressive farmers rather than on uplifting weak farmers. In addition to compliance with certification guidelines, cooperatives may give priority to larger farms or to farmers who have been loyal to the cooperative in the past, in other words, to farmers who do not side-sell to other mills. Most uncertified members are unaware of the opportunities for certification in their cooperative. Eleven percent of uncertified farmers who are members of a cooperative which offers Rainforest Alliance certification (N=18) responded that they had knowledge of the certification. Even certified
Chapter 4 members of cooperatives are often unfamiliar with certification. Seventeen percent of the farmers interviewed from cooperatives with collective CAFE Practices certification (N=41) were aware of the certification. Fair Trade enjoys more recognition among certified farmers, presumably because farmers must vote at assemblies on the how the certification premium will be distributed. Fifty-one percent of the members of Fair Trade-certified cooperatives (N=39) had heard of Fair Trade certification. While this lack of awareness of the opportunities and the tenets of certification compromises the producers’ ability to make informed decisions about improving the sustainability of their farming systems, it also mitigates concerns about resentment or dismantling of solidarity between certified and uncertified producers. The decision between individual and collective certification remains a critical issue for cooperatives. On one hand, collective certification appeals to cooperatives with a strong ideology of equality. One the other hand, the strain that certifications put on the human resources of the cooperatives often makes individual certifications the only viable option. Accessing Certifications Through Consortia While cooperatives offer small-holder farmers access to certifications, cooperatives themselves may find that they cannot access certifications without technical assistance. There are three consortia, or second-level cooperatives, in Costa Rica (Coocafe, Suscof and Cafecoop) which help member cooperatives access certifications and/or market their coffee. Consortia are important to help small, resource-poor cooperatives access certification and to lower certification costs (Vandorpe, 2014) and it is on this premise that Coocafe was created.
Nine Type 1 and 2 cooperatives access Fair Trade through Coocafe. Coocafe builds capacity within the cooperatives, exports coffee and offers financing. Many member cooperatives would not have survived the coffee crisis without the help of Coocafe (Ronchi, 2002). The manager of Cooperative 17, a small cooperative facing financial trouble explains, ‘We exist by the grace of Coocafe…They do not like to see member cooperatives fail.’
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? The biggest barrier to Fair Trade certification for the small cooperatives is the lack of human resources. A manager at the Coocafe consortium explains, ‘They may have one person acting as the manager and the agronomist.’ As the owner of the Fair Trade certification for nine disparate and geographically distant cooperatives, Coocafe takes on the risk of ensuring that members of all nine cooperatives comply with the certification standards. If an external auditor found a certified farmer at one cooperative committed a major infraction (for example the use of child labor), Coocafe, and consequently all nine member cooperatives, would lose its Fair Trade certification. This, as also noted by Mutersbaugh (2002), makes certified cooperatives dependent on the compliance of farmers in distant regions. Because of the high stakes of compliance, Coocafe offers mock-audits for member cooperatives before the third-party audits. The cooperative managers and former managers who were instrumental in the formation of Coocafe in 1988 agree that, were it not for the support of Coocafe, the small cooperatives would not have been able to access Fair Trade certification.
Nevertheless, as instrumental as Coocafe has been in helping small cooperatives access certifications, the costs can be high. Coocafe charges a high price for the services that they provide to member cooperatives (Sick, 2008) and has been accused of charging exorbitant interest rates for credit (N. L. Babin, 2012). The administrator at a small cooperative explains that the cost of exporting through Coocafe reduces the premium gained from the Fair Trade sales. He says, ‘We pay $1 per quintal (100 pounds) of coffee exported through Coocafe. It was discussed at the last meeting that this costs is too high.’
Type 4 cooperatives, if they choose to pursue Fair Trade certification, pursue it independently of Coocafe. These cooperatives are producers of high quality coffee and feel that they do not need Coocafe’s assistance to find buyers. Unlike Type 1 and 2 cooperatives, Type 4 cooperatives are able to access financing from banks and therefore do not need the financing provided by Coocafe.
Unlike Coocafe which deals mainly with Fair Trade and serves Type 1 and 2 cooperatives, the consortia Suscof and Cafecoop focus on multiple certifications and Type 2 and 4 cooperatives. The
Chapter 4 role of Suscof has evolved over the years from its initial focus on providing training to cooperative managers to access Utz certification. Suscof is now involved mainly in the marketing of both certified and uncertified coffee. Cafecoop focuses on marketing certified and uncertified coffee and not on access to certifications. Financial Incentives for Cooperatives Make-up of the Final Sale Price The final price of green Arabica coffee is made up of three components: the base price, the differential and the certification premium (if any). The division between the differential and the certification premium is somewhat subjective. The base price is the price of Arabica on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The base price of a contract may correlate to the NYSE price at any point between the time of initiation of the contract and the date on which the coffee is delivered, depending on the stipulations of the individual contract. For Fair Trade certified coffee, the seller is guaranteed a minimum base price of US$1.40/pound for washed Arabica coffee. No other certifications have a guaranteed minimum price. The second component of the final sale price is the differential. The differential is based on the country’s reputation related to the quality of the coffee and its availability in the market. Some countries, such as Brazil and Honduras, may have negative differentials for certain grades of coffee. In other words the final sale price may be lower than the base price because the differential is subtracted from the base price. According to the cooperative managers interviewed, price differentials for Costa Rican coffee range from $0.10-$0.50/pound depending on coffee grade. The third component of the final sale price is the certification premium. This component is not relevant for conventional coffee. Fair Trade clearly stipulates that a US$0.20/pound social
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? (certification) premium must be paid by the buyer. The premium for other certifications is not stipulated in their certification guidelines and was found to vary depending on the contract. Most Costa Rican coffee cooperatives renegotiate contracts with buyers every year. This is in part due to the fluctuation of the market which makes cooperatives reluctant to commit to a price which may be higher the following year and in part to the reluctance of buyers to lock themselves into contracts with small farmer cooperatives whose board of directors and marketing strategies may change from year to year. The few cooperatives that negotiate multi-year contracts are large cooperatives with the financial reserves to withstand market fluctuations and harvest volumes high enough to assure buyers that they will be able to fill future contracts. For those cooperatives with multi-year contracts, fluctuations in the NYSE price are lower. The payment of certification premiums to cooperatives is quite variable. Beuchelt and Zeller (2013) find that the financial advantage of certified coffee is most apparent when world coffee prices are low. Our study confirms their findings for Fair Trade organic and Utz certifications. For Rainforest Alliance the certification premium seems to be stable. There is evidence that for CAFE Practices certification may augment the fluctuations in the world market price. Fair Trade, organic and Utz prices vary with market fluctuations In general, the importance of certifications on the world market varies with the world supply of coffee. When the world price of coffee is low, buyers are more willing to pay certification premiums. A corporate coffee buyer wrote in an email, ‘When the market is at $2.00 [per pound] or above, quality is THE issue and certifications come second. When we are at a market of $1.16 buyers focus on certifications and NOT primarily on quality. So it’s a tough game [for cooperatives] to play, as offer and demand don’t tend to agree with one another.’
Chapter 4 Cooperative administrators confirm the difficulty of balancing the supply and demand of certified coffee. The sales manager at Cooperative 6, a Type 4 cooperative, elaborates, ‘Certifications are an important strategy in times of low coffee prices…With high prices any coffee is worth a lot of money, [and certifications] lose their interest.’ Fair Trade, organic and Utz certifications follow this pattern of premiums which fluctuate inversely with the NYSE price. In Table 8 we see average data compiled from the sales contracts of four cooperatives for three harvest years. In harvest year 2012/13, the NYSE price was below the Fair Trade minimum and cooperatives benefitted from both the minimum price and the $0.20/pound certification premium. An administrator at cooperative 1 emphasizes, “Fair Trade functions perfectly when the NYSE price is below the Fair Trade [minimum] price.” However, when the NYSE price is above the Fair Trade minimum price, as we see in harvest years 2011/12 and 2013/14, the base price received by the cooperatives is below the NYSE price, making the average final sale price equal to conventional in 2011/12 and $0.08 higher than conventional in 2013/14. In these cases the cooperatives report that buyers will not pay both the full NYSE price and the certification premium. The final sale price was no higher than that of conventional because buyers ‘took the Fair Trade premium from the higher NYSE price,’ according to the manager at Cooperative 1. The manager of Cooperative 2, a Type 4 cooperative, confirms this. ‘When the New York Stock Exchange price is low (let’s say less than $1.40/pound for example), the buyers almost always pay both the quality differential and the $0.20/pound Fair Trade premium. In this case they always respect the minimum price of $1.40/pound. The problem is when the NYSE price is at a very high level (let’s say, for example $2.00/pound or more). In this case, the problem is the total differential (the sum of the quality differential plus the Fair Trade premium). What they do is lower this total differential so that if the quality differential is $0.35 and the Fair Trade premium is $0.20/pound they will be reluctant to pay 80
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? this total differential of $0.55/pound, but in the end they offer a total differential of $0.40 or $0.45 per pound.’ Therefore, while the contracts include the required $0.20/pound certification premium, it is not reflected in the final sale price. The resilience that the Fair Trade minimum price offers, however, should not be discounted. Particularly for small cooperatives this economic buffer can be important. The former manager of Cooperative 3, a small Type 1 cooperative and a founding member of Coocafe says ‘Fair Trade gave us the possibility to survive when the price of coffee was low.’ Table 8: Breakdown of final sale price of conventional and Fair Trade coffee paid to cooperatives 2011/12-2013/14.
Average Average Average Certification Average Harvest Base Price Differential Premium Final Sale Year Coffee Type US$/lb US$/lb US$/lb Price a 2011/12 Fair Trade 1.50 0.30 0.20 2.00 Conventional 1.70 0.30 0 2.00 b 2012/13 Fair Trade 1.40 0.25 0.20 1.85 Conventional 1.13 0.25 0 1.38 2013/14b Fair Trade 2.03 0.20 0.20 2.43 Conventional 2.10 0.25 0 2.35 Source: Interviews with cooperative administrators. a Data from one cooperative b Average data from three cooperatives.
A Type 4 coop, however, was able to obtain the full NYSE price and the $0.20/pound certification premium in 2013/14, though the selling manager stated that it was a struggle to get the buyer to pay the full amount. ‘They didn’t want to pay it, but they did.’ This is a large cooperative with an annual production of 85,000 quintals of high-altitude coffee and is in a better position to negotiate with buyers than are smaller cooperatives which produce low-altitude coffee. The certification premium for organic coffee was found to fluctuate with the market in much the same way as the Fair Trade final sale price. This phenomenon has been noted in previous studies
Chapter 4 (Kilian et al., 2006). We compared the certification premium for organic coffee (as compared to the conventional price offered at the same mill) by harvest year and found that it fell as the average export price of Costa Rican coffee increased (See Figure 5). The manager of Cooperative 3 explains how the financial incentives for organic certification vary with the world price of coffee: “This year [2013/14, high NYSE price] we didn’t sell any coffee with organic certification because the premiums were very low… If the premiums are higher next year we will sell again with organic certification.” In this case the farmers continue using organic production practices but receive the price for conventional coffee. Because of the transition period from conventional production to organic certification, cooperatives must maintain the certification every year even if they do not sell any product under the certification. Organic coffee production is normally less profitable than conventional production because of higher labor and input costs which are usually not offset by the premium, (Beuchelt & Zeller, 2011). However, since the premium fluctuates more or less inversely to the NYSE price, organic farmers should experience a more consistent sale price from year to year, offering a buffer from market lows.
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? 60 50
40 150 30 100 20 50
Average Export Price US$
Percent Above Conventional Price
Average Organic Premium Average Export Price
Figure 5 : Average export price of Costa Rican coffee and average organic premium offered by Costa Rican mills. Source: (Icafe, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013b, 2014a, 2014b)
As with organic coffee, cooperatives report that they may not sell Utz certified coffee when the world price is high because both the premium and the demand are lower. A manager at Cooperative 6 explains, ‘We didn’t sell any coffee in Utz this year [2013/14] but we still hold the certification. We were not gaining anything from the certification and the premium was very low. There were hardly any buyers. [When the NYSE price is high] they can get cheaper coffee from Nicaragua.’ Confirming previous studies (Kilian, Pratt, Jones, & Villalobos, 2004), we found that the lowest certification premiums were paid for Utz. The five cooperatives that participate in Utz report a small premium between $0.05-$0.10/pound. As we saw with Fair Trade certification, cooperatives may receive a higher price for Utz certified coffee than for conventional coffee, but it is often not as high as expected given the usual differentials received for the class of coffee sold. The manager at Cooperative 2 explains in an email, ‘Utz certified almost always pay a better price for certified coffee, but almost never pays the total that they should for the quality differential plus the certification premium. There is a
Chapter 4 better price, yes, but they never pay the total of the quality differential for Costa Rican and in the end the certification premium ends up being less than expected.’ Rainforest Alliance premiums remain relatively stable with market fluctuations Barham and Weber (2012) found that the Rainforest Alliance certification premiums that cooperatives paid to member farmers fluctuated between 2006 and 2008, dropping significantly with a small change in the local market price. Interviews with cooperative administrators in Costa Rica, however, showed evidence of relatively stable certification premiums. A manager at Cooperative 4, a Type 4 cooperative, explains, ‘The premium for Rainforest Alliance is $0.10/pound on top of the quality premium [differential] and does not vary with time.” This cooperative, nevertheless, had only two years’ experience with Rainforest Alliance certification. The premium paid to cooperatives for Rainforest Alliance certified coffee was found to vary between $0.00 and $0.20/ pound among the five cooperatives which hold the certification. A multiple-year study would be needed to determine the exact effect of market fluctuations on the Rainforest Alliance premium. CAFE Practices certification premiums may augment market fluctuations CAFE Practices is a private certification, so it is not surprising that it does not behave in the same way as third-party certifications. Indeed, according to a manager at Starbucks, the company prefers to call CAFE Practices a ‘verification’ rather than a certification. Starbuck’s goal of buying 100% of its coffee from certified sources (mostly from Starbuck’s own CAFE Practices program) by the year 2015 (Starbucks Corporation, 2014) means that in times of low supply (high global prices) it may be forced to pay a competitive price to secure coffee with the desired origin, flavor profile and certifications. For this reason we see that cooperatives may receive a slightly higher average price for CAFE Practices certification than for conventional coffee in years of high global prices (2011/12 and 2013/14) and slightly lower prices when there is an oversupply of coffee on the world market (2012/13) (see Table 9). Due to low participation in Nespresso AAA on the part of Costa Rican cooperatives we were unable to assess the price dynamics. However, since AAA, like CAFE Practices,
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? is a corporate certification which places a high emphasis on quality and origin, there is reason to believe that the two certifications would react in a similar manner. The fluctuation in the price of CAFE Practices, however, is quite small and a larger study would be needed to confirm the long-term price dynamics of corporate sourcing certifications. Table 9: Breakdown of final sale price of conventional and CAFE Practices coffee paid to cooperatives 2011/12-2013/14.
Average Base Price US$/lb
Average Average Certification Average Differential Premium Final Sale US$/lb US$/lb Price
Coffee Type CAFE 2011/12a Practices 1.70 0.32 Conventional 1.70 0.30 CAFE 2012/13b Practices 1.20 0.22 Conventional 1.20 .33 CAFE 2013/14c Practices 2.30 .35 Conventional 2.30 .30 Source: Interviews with cooperative administrators a Average data from two cooperatives. b Average data from three cooperatives. c Data from one cooperative.
When a certification premium amounts to a quality premium Several authors have argued that what is classified as a certification premium is actually related to the quality of coffee rather than to the manner in which the crop was produced (Kilian et al., 2006; Kilian et al., 2004; Ruben & Zuñiga, 2011). This means that producers must improve both the quality and the sustainability of their production without compensation for the more sustainable practices (Giovannucci, Byers, & Liu, 2008). We found this discrepancy in the cases of CAFE Practices and Rainforest Alliance certification. Cooperatives reported that only coffee with few defects from the peak harvest season can be used to fill contracts for these two certifications. Farmers further reported that they must pay workers more to harvest for Rainforest Alliance certification because the cooperative would accept only 100% ripe coffee cherries for these contracts, which is more timeconsuming to harvest. Workers are paid by volume harvested rather than by time worked, so it is not
Chapter 4 clear whether or not workers are earning more on an hourly basis due to the painstaking harvesting process. While quality is an important issue in all certifications, cooperatives did not need to implement any special practices to comply with other certifications, such as Fair Trade or organic. Icafe carefully monitors the quality of export coffee, so the quality standards for conventional coffee are similar to those of certified coffee in Costa Rica. However, an upgrade in quality has been seen in Fair Trade coffee in Nicaragua, where there is less governmental intervention in quality controls (Pirotte, Pleyers, & Poncelet, 2006; Valkila & Nygren, 2010). Paying Certification Premiums to Members Although, as we have seen above, cooperatives may receive a financial incentive to pursue certifications, their costs are often substantial and incentives may not be passed on to their members. It is not unusual for cooperatives, particularly in the first years of certification, to retain some or all of the premium (Vandorpe, 2014) to cover the costs of audits, upgrades to the mill or the implementation of a system of internal control. A cooperative with strong competition from a private mill or one which prioritizes solidarity among the members may choose to distribute any certification premium to all members, rather than just individually certified members. This strategy would allow the cooperative to raise its buying price, attract more sellers and better compete with other mills. However, this strategy dilutes the financial interest of individual certification in the eyes of its members. Cooperatives which have a more entrepreneurial vision may distribute all or a portion of the premium to certified farmers. This payment is meant as an incentive to offset the costs of implementing new agricultural practices, and acknowledges the notion that ‘it is hard to be green when you are in the red’ (Vanclay, 2004). The sales manager at Cooperative 6 recognizes the importance of these economic incentives, ’It’s very nice to protect the environment, all of this is very
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? very important, but the producer needs money.’ The average certification premiums paid to certified members are summarized in Table 10. Table 10: Average certification premium paid to individually-certified members.
Certifications CAFE Practices Rainforest Alliance Utz Organic
Number of cooperatives which certify individual members 6 5 5 2
Average premium paid to certified members (US$/lb) in 2013/14 $0.08 $0.09 $0.04 N/A
The implementation of sustainable farming practices in order to comply with the rules of certification may represent a significant cost for the producers, and farmers may find changes difficult to maintain if the promised financial incentives are not forthcoming (Smith, 2007). Some of these requirements may include cutting weeds rather than spraying herbicides (which increases labor costs), building a shed to store pesticides, planting shade trees and renovating housing for seasonal workers. The premium paid to farmers for certification may or may not cover the expense of all of these changes. However, farmers may still volunteer to pursue a certification knowing that the costs will not be fully covered because of a desire to improve farm management and recordkeeping or because they think that the changes will result in higher yields. One farmer described the $0.10/pound premium that he receives for Rainforest Alliance certified coffee a ‘little gift’ from the cooperative acknowledging the effort he had made to implement the certification requirements on his farm. Another smallholder farmer from a neighboring cooperative says that the $0.10/pound premium that he receives for the same certification is essential in order to make the changes needed to comply with the strict environmental requirements of Rainforest Alliance. While he describes himself as having a strong environmental ethic, without the financial incentive provided by the cooperative, he would not be able to make these changes. ‘It’s not that I don’t want to [protect wildlife], it’s that I couldn’t [without
Chapter 4 the premium].’ He repeatedly calls coffee production ’a struggle.’ ‘Conservation is very important’, he says, ’but the most important is that the kids eat.’ Two out of four CAFE Practices-certified members at one Type 4 cooperative decided to discontinue their individual certifications after the 2012/13 harvest year when both the world price of coffee and the certification premium paid by the cooperative were very low. Farmers decided that the price incentives were too low to justify the agrochemical restrictions imposed by the certifications, particularly in a year with high disease pressure. Cooperatives with collective certifications distribute all or a portion of the premium to their members after the cooperative has recuperated its costs. This process is transparent to the members. The manager at Cooperative 1 says, ‘We must justify all of these expenditures, colon for colon, to the members.’ A large Type 3 cooperative allocates 100% of the $232,000 earned from the Fair Trade premium to environmental and social projects in the community rather than distributing the premium directly to farmers. The cooperative has decided that, because it has so many members (6000), community-wide programs make a larger impact than a direct payment of less than $40 to each member, a relatively insignificant amount in a country where rural incomes are comparatively high. The members vote on which projects to support at the annual assembly. The farmers may benefit directly from projects such as a watershed revitalization project which provided farmers with shade trees or the provision of disease-resistant coffee seedlings. These projects were funded with the proceeds of the Fair Trade premium in 2013 and 2014, respectively. One Type 4 cooperative pays 100% of the Fair Trade premium to farmers, which amounted to a payment of $228 per member in the 2012/2013 harvest. This amount is insignificant, considering the average rural income in Costa Rica is US$862 per month (Censos, 2012). A direct payment of this amount has less effect on producer livelihoods in Costa Rica than it would in El Salvador, for example, where average rural income is US$361 per month (Melara, 2014).
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? Although the rules of Fair Trade state that at least $0.05 of the $0.20/pound premium must be allocated for improvements to the harvest, this presents a problem for some Costa Rican cooperatives, which feel that their most important role is to increase the profit of its members. Administrators at Cooperative 1 agree, ‘As a business we think it is better that this money goes directly to the producer.’ All other Fair Trade cooperatives in Costa Rica pay members between 75% and 90% of the $0.20/pound Fair Trade premium with an average premium of $0.13 per pound for all coffee sold as Fair Trade. The remaining 10-25% of the premium from these contracts is used to support programs within the cooperative such as improvements to the mill, educational programs for improving coffee quality, subsidizing the sale of coffee seedlings, scholarships for the sons and daughters of members or programs for women. In most cases members receive a premium only for the portion of the harvest the cooperative is able to sell as certified. They receive the conventional price for the remainder of their harvest, even though it is standard-compliant. We found two cases of cooperatives paying a premium to farmers even when none was received from buyers. In both cases, Type 4 cooperatives paid certified producers a premium for the entire harvest of certification-compliant coffee, rather than simply for the portion of the harvest the cooperative was able to sell with certification. This is only an option for Type 4 cooperatives with a limited number of certified producers, as smaller cooperatives would not have the financial resources to pay a premium when none was received from the buyers. Consumers have indicated a willingness to pay a premium for Fair Trade and ecological certifications (Arnot, Boxall, & Cash, 2006; Basu & Hicks, 2008), presumably assuming that the added cost was supporting the implementation of these programs. However, the distribution of this premium along the value chain is not regulated. In an attempt to increase the amount of certified production, concessions have been made in the strictness of the standards. Price provisions to producers are most frequently the first standards to be relaxed (Daviron & Vagneron, 2011). Lack of transparency in
Chapter 4 the price distribution favors buyers in price negotiations (Giovannucci et al., 2008). Willingness to pay on the part of the consumer coupled with relaxed standards on price premiums to producers creates the opportunity for middlemen such as exporters and roasters to charge higher prices without passing the profit on to producers (Vagneron & Roquigny, 2011; Valkila, Haaparanta, & Niemi, 2010). Even if cooperatives do not directly pass premiums on to their members, the members may still benefit. Cooperative 19, a large Type 4 cooperative uses the premium from Rainforest Alliance and Women’s Harvest and a portion (25%) of the premium from Fair Trade to fund its sustainability program and programs for women. The sustainability program includes environmental education programs for children, health fairs, a recycling program and programs for immigrants. Programs for women focus on women’s empowerment and financial independence. Certified farmers may also receive in-kind contributions to help them comply with certification standards, such as free shade tree seedlings, personal protective equipment for pesticide application or specialized training in lieu of financial incentives. Studies which document the lack of financial incentive for member farmers overlook the benefit that certifications have on subsidizing cooperatives. In the more remote coffee growing regions, cooperatives may be the only buyer of coffee. If cooperatives go out of business farmers would be unable to sell their harvest. These remote cooperatives are often important contributors to the local economy, as an administrator at Cooperative 1 explains, ‘Eighty-five percent of the local economy passes through the cooperative.’ Compliance with certification standards can improve farm management. Recordkeeping and cost analysis is limited at both the cooperative and the farm level (Ton et al., 2007). The agronomist at Cooperative 1 says, ‘There is no culture of recordkeeping among the farmers. Not just here, in all of Latin America.’ Certifications have helped change this, particularly at the cooperative level. There is anecdotal evidence that improved recordkeeping has improved the profitability of farms, but without pre-certification records this is impossible to quantify. 90
Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers or Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica?
Conclusion Financial incentives encourage cooperatives and, in some circumstances, farmers, to pursue certifications. Nevertheless, these incentives are often variable. Many times certification premiums amount to quality premiums. If cooperatives receive a certification premium, buyers may pay a lower quality premium, thereby negating any financial gains from certifications. Multiple certifications may lower auditing and implementation costs, but cooperatives rarely receive the full premium for multiply-certified coffee. Price incentives vary depending on the world price of coffee, the quality of coffee produced and the certification scheme. There are no clear and consistent financial incentives to pursue certification. Financial incentives for certifications such as Fair Trade, organic and Utz may diminish or disappear entirely when the world price of coffee is high. Our study found Rainforest Alliance premiums to be more consistent, but previous studies have observed fluctuation with the market. CAFE Practices fluctuate with the world price of coffee and may even augment market highs and lows. The demand for certified coffee also fluctuates with the world price. Cooperatives are able to satisfy market demand by certifying only a small portion of their members, reducing the farm-level impact because the cooperatives can select the most compliant farms. Because of an oversupply of certified coffee on the world market, consumer demand would have to increase considerably, prompting the certification of more farms, to have a significant positive impact at the farm level. Collective certifications of all members of a cooperative have the potential to induce the greatest change at the farm level, whereas the certification of individual farms rewards mainly progressive farmers. Low consumer demand, high auditing and certification costs and weak financial incentives encourage cooperative to certify individual members, undermining the potential for upgrades to the sustainability of all members’ farms.
Chapter 4 Strict governmental regulation of the coffee industry facilitates compliance with certifications. However, high rural incomes such as those in Costa Rica mean that financial incentives are often insignificant. Cooperatives with many members and low percentages of certified coffee sales often choose to use certification premiums for programs which benefit the community, rather than a direct payment to the members. Certifications improve recordkeeping and management in the cooperative. Cooperatives, whether or not they offer direct financial incentives to members, offer many in-kind and indirect benefits related to certification and account for the expenditures of the premium in a transparent manner. The decision about the payment of direct financial incentives to members is based on competition from other mills, the financial situation of the cooperative and ideals of equality within the cooperative. ________________________________________________________________________________ 1
Certifications in this article refer to any program in which farmers or groups of farmers comply with a
defined set of production practices in return for verified distinction in the marketplace. Some certifiers (Starbucks, Women’s Harvest, 4C) prefer to call their programs verifications rather than certifications, however for the purposes of this article both types of programs are considered together. 2
Organic certification in Costa Rica is more popular among associations, rather than cooperatives. Several
Costa Rican associations also participate in other certifications such as Fair Trade or CAFE Practices.
Chapter 5: Voluntary Coffee Certifications Influence how Cooperatives Provide Advisory Services to Smallholder Farmers in Costa Rica Based on a manuscript by Anna Snider, Eva Krauss, Aske Bosselmann, Nicole Sibelet, Guy Faure
accepted for publication Journal of Agriculture Education and Extension Special Issue on Extension Dynamics in Latin America
Abstract The previous chapter presented general data about how cooperatives manage certifications and incentivize farmers. Because of the structure of the certified coffee industry, incentives are often weak and thus farm level changes are likely to be small. However, in addition to financial incentives, cooperatives offer many advisory services to their members which are related to certifications. The purpose of this article is to explore possible reasons why impact studies may conclude that farm level changes are small, even if farmers are complying with certification standards. It also explores other non-financial effects of certifications at the cooperative level.
Certifications oblige cooperatives to offer new services to support farmers. Cooperatives form collaborations with new stakeholders or reconfigure existing collaborations to provide extension services to their members. These services have helped to shape farmers’ attitudes about sustainable farming practices, though farm-level changes may be small. The main change at the cooperative level is the development of a new discourse on sustainability. Advisory activities addressing certification issues are directly linked with practices such as maintaining a farm record book to better manage farm resources or wearing a mask when applying pesticides. The increase in the number of shade trees on the farm is linked to cooperative services.
The results are useful to improve the advisory services provided by cooperatives by better identifying the key issues to be addressed to fulfill the certifications’ requirements.
We demonstrate that certifications change the intensity and scope of extension services and oblige cooperatives to engage with a more diverse network of stakeholders.
Abstract Le chapitre précédent a présenté des données générales sur la façon dont les coopératives gèrent les certifications et incitent les agriculteurs à devenir certifiés. En raison de la structure de l'industrie du café certifié, les incitations sont souvent faibles, tout comme les changements au niveau des
Voluntary Coffee Certifications Influence how Cooperatives Provide Advisory Services to Small-Holder Farmers in Costa Rica exploitations. Cependant, en plus des incitations financières, les coopératives offrent de nombreux services consultatifs à leurs membres certifiés. Le but de cet article est d'explorer pourquoi les études d'impact concluent que les changements au niveau des exploitations sont faibles, bien que les agriculteurs soient conforment aux normes de certification. Il explore également au niveau de la coopérative d'autres effets non financiers de la certification. La certification oblige les coopératives à offrir de nouveaux services visant à soutenir les agriculteurs. Ces coopératives mettent en place des collaborations avec de nouveaux acteurs, ou reconfigurent des collaborations existantes, dans le but de fournir des services de vulgarisation à leurs membres. Ces services ont contribué à façonner l'attitude des agriculteurs vis-à-vis des pratiques agricoles durables, bien que les changements au niveau de l’exploitation agricoles soient faibles. Le principal changement au niveau de la coopérative est le développement d'un discours sur la durabilité. Les activités de conseil traitant la certification concernent des pratiques telles que le maintien d'un registre agricole (afin de mieux gérer les ressources de la ferme) ou le port d’un masque lors de l'application des pesticides. L'augmentation du nombre d'arbres d'ombrage sur la ferme est liée aux services de coopération. Ces résultats sont utiles pour améliorer les services de conseil fournis par les coopératives, en identifiant mieux les questions clés à aborder afin de répondre aux exigences des certifications. Nous démontrons que les certifications changent l'intensité et la portée des services de vulgarisation, et obligent les coopératives à collaborer avec un réseau plus diversifié d'intervenants.
Introduction Farmers’ organizations are essential for small farmers to access voluntary coffee certifications by providing their members with services such as training, access to inputs and credit. They help producers adopt the sustainable agricultural practices required by certification and subsequently to take advantage of certified markets (Elder et al., 2013; Faure, Le Coq, et al., 2012). The conversion to sustainable agricultural practices requires advice and knowledge that are frequently outside of the capacity of government-provided extension (Gerber & Hoffmann, 2000). Structural adjustments in Latin America in the 1980s reduced governmental spending in the agricultural sector. As a result private training and service providers emerged; however, small-scale farmers were left with little access to services. Farmers’ organizations fill this gap by acting as knowledge brokers for their members (J. F. Le Coq, Faure, & Saenz, 2012).
The development of voluntary certifications requires the collaboration of multiple stakeholders (Alvarez, Pilbeam, & Wilding, 2010; Bitzer et al., 2008). However previous research has paid little attention to the collaborations of farmers’ organizations with other stakeholders, the effect of these collaborations on the content and intensity of advisory services to farmers, and the effects of these new advisory services on farming practices. Our research aims to fill this gap.
The objective of this study is to examine the influence of coffee certifications on the advisory services which farmers’ organizations provide to their members and the effect of these services on farming practices. We look specifically at changes in the engagement with outside stakeholders and its influence on training and other services. Our research is based on case studies of first and secondlevel coffee cooperatives, which are the types of farmers’ organizations most involved in certifications in Costa Rica.
Voluntary Coffee Certifications Influence how Cooperatives Provide Advisory Services to Small-Holder Farmers in Costa Rica
Costa Rica and Voluntary Coffee Certifications Costa Rica presents an interesting setting to study the dynamics of voluntary coffee certifications and the role of small-farmer cooperatives. First, 92% of farmers cultivate less than five hectares of land (Icafe, 2013b) and 41% of the 2013/14 harvest was processed by small-farmer cooperatives, making this type of farmers’ organization an important part of the national coffee sector (Icafe, 2014).
Second, the Costa Rican coffee sector participates in multiple voluntary coffee certifications. In 2012, 32% of the national harvest was compliant with one or more certification standards (Potts et al., 2014). Cooperatives are essential for small farmers to access these certifications (Faure, Le Coq, et al., 2012). Of Costa Rica’s 22 cooperatives, 82% have at least one certification and 55% have multiple certifications. The most popular certifications among Costa Rica’s cooperatives are Fair Trade (15 cooperatives participating), Starbucks’ CAFE Practices (8 cooperatives), Rainforest Alliance (5 cooperatives), and Utz (5 cooperatives) (Snider, Faure, Gutiérrez, & Sibelet, Submitted for Publication). All certifications require farm-level practices such as recordkeeping or the reduction of agrochemicals (Raynolds et al., 2007). There are differences among the standards of the different certifications. For example, Fair Trade requires that members are organized democratically and receive training in safe handling of pesticides and soil and water management (Fairtrade International, 2014). In addition to sustainable agricultural practices, CAFE Practices requires high quality coffee and health and safety training for farm workers (Starbucks Coffee Company, 2012). Rainforest Alliance focuses on biodiversity and workers’ welfare (Rainforest Alliance & SalvaNatura, 2010) while Utz focuses on farm management and traceability (Utz Certified, 2015). Costa Rican cooperatives select and manage certifications in different ways, depending on their ideologies, their commercial strategies, the quality of coffee they produce, market demand and price for certified coffee (Snider et al., Submitted for Publication). Some cooperatives certify all members of the cooperative (collective certification) to promote equality and good management practices among all members (Fair Trade allows only collective certifications). Responding to limited market demand,
Chapter 5 other cooperatives use individual certifications by involving a few farmers who already comply with the majority of the standards. These farmers may receive a small premium from the cooperative to incentivize their participation and acknowledge their efforts (Snider et al., Submitted for Publication). Some cooperatives may join a second-level cooperative, or consortium, to receive support in accessing certifications. One such consortium is Coocafe, a group of nine Fair Trade cooperatives which has been important to accessing Fair Trade in Costa Rica (Ronchi, 2002). Coffee grown at higher elevations is generally of a higher quality and commands a higher market price (Bosselmann, 2012). In Costa Rica, cooperatives at lower elevations, such as those in Guanacaste, participate mainly in Fair Trade. Cooperatives at higher elevations, such as those in the West and Central Valleys and in Tarrazú, mainly participate in certification schemes managed by private companies, namely Starbuck’s CAFE Practices, and in multi-stakeholder and NGO-initiated certification schemes such as Utz and Rainforest Alliance (Snider et al., Submitted for Publication).
Conceptual Framework Intermediary organizations that link various actors are recognized as key supporters of innovation (Klerkx & Gildemacher, 2012). Howells (2006) defines an intermediary as ‘an organization of body that acts as an agent or broker in any aspect of the innovation process between two or more parties.’ Farmers’ organizations play such an intermediary role (J. F. Le Coq et al., 2012; Yang, Klerkx, & Leeuwis, 2014). Farmers’ organizations articulate their members’ needs for technology, knowledge, funding and other services; directly provide services or compose networks to provide these services; and facilitate the interaction between other service providers and their members. Interorganizational collaborations can facilitate access to new resources or markets and enhance innovation processes. By acquiring new knowledge and resources from these collaborations, farmers’ organizations may decide to provide new services to their members. Relevant advisory services are considered vital to implement certifications and change agricultural practices (Elder et al., 2013; Ruben & Zuñiga, 2011) but the cost of these new services must be considered. Advice may be
Voluntary Coffee Certifications Influence how Cooperatives Provide Advisory Services to Small-Holder Farmers in Costa Rica provided based on individual support or collective training and using different approaches ranging from a top-down approach of technicians training farmers to adopt external proposals, to a bottomup approach that aims at strengthening the autonomous decision-making process of farmers (Faure, Desjeux, & Gasselin, 2012). However, changing agricultural practices to achieve a more sustainable farming system is more than just a technical process; it is also a socio-cultural process and requires farmers to construct new knowledge.
Figure 6 summarizes the interaction between cooperatives, other stakeholders and farmers in relation to advisory services. Certification standards induce changes at both the cooperative and the farm level. Outside stakeholders such as NGOs, public entities or private companies interact with cooperatives to help change the cooperatives’ perceptions of sustainability and to help them design and implement new services for their members. These services effect farmers’ perceptions and their farming practices. However, changes at the farm level may also be influenced by other external factors (laws, governmental initiatives, actions of other actors not linked to certifications, etc.).
Certification Standards Sustainability Discourse
Farmers & Farming Practices
Laws, Regulations & other external events
Figure 6 Conceptual diagram of the relationships between farmers’ organizations and the change in farming practices.
Chapter 5 Considering this conceptual framework, our research questions are how do certifications influence the manner in which cooperatives provide advisory services to their members and how do these advisory services influence farming practices?
Materials and Methods To achieve our research objectives we began with a general survey of coffee cooperatives in Costa Rica to better understand the state of voluntary certifications among the cooperatives. We interviewed administrators from 20 of Costa Rica’s 22 coffee cooperatives to collect data on the size of the cooperatives; the size and quality of the harvest; and their participation in certifications, including their management strategy (collective or individual certification of members). This data was used to construct a typology of Costa Rican coffee cooperatives based on their participation in certifications; number of certifications held and type of certification. When categorized in this way, patterns emerge regarding the size of the cooperative, the quality of coffee produced and the motivations for pursuing certification. Table 11 outlines the four distinct Types. From this typology, four cooperatives were chosen for their diversity of Type and geographical location. We used a multiple-case study design in which each cooperative is studied as a separate case within the same study. The case study design was chosen for its usefulness in answering ‘how’ questions (Yin, 2009). The case study method allowed us to explore the complex relationships of cooperatives and outside stakeholders. We used multiple case studies embedded in the context of cooperatives which participate in coffee certifications in Costa Rica because the evidence from multiple-case designs is more compelling and regarded as more robust than single-case designs (Yin, 2009). Four case studies were chosen to maximize the data collected while accommodating the time constraints of the researchers.
Voluntary Coffee Certifications Influence how Cooperatives Provide Advisory Services to Small-Holder Farmers in Costa Rica Table 11 : A typology of Costa Rican coffee cooperatives.
Type 1 Small/Marginal Coocafe Dependent
Type 2 Medium dependence on Fair Trade
Type 3 Type 4 Low to no participation Diversified in certifications Certifications
Small to large
Low to mid
Mid to high
Mid to High
Fair Trade or FT/Organic
Fair Trade, may try other certifications, but they often find they cannot maintain them because of lack of market demand or personnel
One or no certifications.
Three or more certifications
Amount of certified coffee sold
Financially-dependent on Coocafe. Those currently exporting sell at least 30% in Fair Trade.
Medium dependence on certification. Sell 15-60% of the harvest in Fair Trade.
<5% of harvest sold with certification
< 30% of total harvest sold in any one certification.
Reasons to certify
Financial but also to provide more services to members.
Little interest in certifications.
Request of important buyers and environmental reasons.
Number of cooperatives
Since the research objective was to analyze how participation in certifications influence the advisory services of coffee cooperatives, Type 3 cooperatives, which do not participate intensively in certifications, were not chosen for case studies. The case studies consisted of semi-structured interviews (N. Sibelet et al., 2013) with cooperative administrators to understand the history of certifications in the cooperatives, the history of the services provided to the members and the collaborations that the cooperatives formed in order to provide these services. We also reviewed the cooperatives’ training records when available, and observed events organized by the cooperatives, including group training, farm visits and annual assemblies. In addition, we interviewed five key stakeholders including NGOs, private companies and governmental organizations involved in providing advisory services to farmers. The case studies and interviews are summarized in Table 12.
Chapter 5 Table 12 Summary of case study cooperatives, certifications and interviews.
Certifications and management strategy: collective or individual (i) Fair Trade (c)
Year of first certification 1989
Approximate Number of Members 170
Member Interviews 0
Administrator interviews 1 general manager 1 general manager, 1 agronomist 1 sales manager, 4 agronomists 1 program manager, 1 sales manager, 1 manager of technical department 11
Cooperative Coop 1
Type Type 1
Fair Trade (c), CAFE Practices 1999 (c)
CAFE Practices (i), Rainforest 1999 Alliance (i), Utz (i), CAFE Practices (c), 2003 Rainforest Alliance (i), Fair Trade (c)
A timeline from before certification until the present was created from the case study data. The lack of cooperative training records made quantifiable data analysis difficult in some cases. We therefore triangulate incomplete data with quotes from interviews. In order to address the second part of our objective, to determine the effect of the changes of services on the farming practices of members, we conducted semi-structured interviews (N. Sibelet et al., 2013) with cooperative members, resulting in interviews with 51 farmers from Cooperatives 2 and 4 using snowball sampling. Interview questions can be found in Appendix C. All members of the two cooperatives are certified in Fair Trade and CAFE Practices. Six of these farmers are also individually-certified by Rainforest Alliance through Cooperative 4. Farmers were asked about the evolution of their perceptions about environmental issues, changes to farming practices (including the planting of shade trees and live barriers, and the use of personal protective equipment, farm record books and inputs), use of the cooperative’s advisory services and other external events (new regulations, other environmental initiatives) which were influential in the evolution of their farming practices. To complement and triangulate information from the surveys we conducted two focus groups with members of Cooperative 2.
Voluntary Coffee Certifications Influence how Cooperatives Provide Advisory Services to Small-Holder Farmers in Costa Rica
Results and Discussion Changes at the cooperative level Interviews with the cooperative administrators emphasize the importance of changing the perceptions of and building capacity in the cooperative staff before the cooperatives could induce change at the farm level. The agronomist at Cooperative 2 explains, ‘First the cooperatives changed, then the farms.’ This capacity building is the most important for obtaining the first certification. Once the systems of internal control and traceability are implemented and initial changes have been made at both the cooperative and the farm levels, the following certifications are easier to obtain. The same agronomist goes on to clarify some of the changes in procedures, ‘100 percent traceability is important for Fair Trade certification. We have to document what training and talks we have hosted and who attended, make sure that all paperwork is in order and document farming practices.
Cooperative administrators agree that certifications oblige them to change the advisory services they offer to their members, requiring more diversified topics than previously offered. The agronomist from Cooperative 2 elaborates,
‘When the certifications came into play, there was a drastic change in behavior, because we had to consider other factors in extension and training which were absent in the former system …Certifications forced us to diversify our trainings. Before certifications …we talked more about productivity, about how to maintain oneself as a producer. Now that the certifications are incorporated, the focus is more global.’
He specifically mentions a new requirement from Fair Trade to offer training on climate change adaptation and Fair Trade and CAFÉ Practice’s requirements of paying farm labors a minimum wage.
We can compare this to a small cooperative in the Central Valley which does not hold any certifications and does not address environmental or social concerns in its group training. According to the manager, their training topics have not changed significantly in the past ten years, ‘We offer
Chapter 5 one training per month on coffee maintenance, fumigation or something similar. The National Coffee Institute (Icafe) provides these trainings because we do not have an agronomist.’
These new advisory services put a strain on the technical department of cooperatives. Because of this strain on human resources and because the new topics required by certification are frequently out of the expertise of the cooperative staff, cooperatives form alliances with new stakeholders to learn or to obtain services for their members. Consortia such as Coocafe or Sustainable Coffee Project (Suscof) could be seen as alliances among cooperatives to assist staff to comply with the certifications’ requirements. Coocafe, for example, continues to build capacity in cooperative staff to help them keep abreast of changing standards, even in cooperatives which have been certified for over 20 years.
Collaborations with NGOs are most frequently used to initiate the certification process or to provide more specialized training after the cooperative has met the basic requirements of certification. Public entities are most often used for providing group classroom-style training to members. Collaborations with private actors, such as chemical companies are sometimes reconfigured in order to comply with certification. The agronomist from Cooperative 2 clarifies, ‘[The private chemical companies] know which certifications we have and which pesticides are prohibited and they adapt their talks accordingly.’ The services provided by different stakeholders are summarized in Table 13.
These new collaborations were brought about by the need to meet certification standards, modify staff and members’ perceptions about sustainable farming practices, improve the traceability of product and modify services. However it takes time to adapt advisory services to the needs of certified members, as shown in Table 14.
Voluntary Coffee Certifications Influence how Cooperatives Provide Advisory Services to Small-Holder Farmers in Costa Rica Table 13 Cooperatives' collaboration with other institutions and the types of services provided to cooperatives and to farmers. FT= Fair Trade, RA= Rainforest Alliance CP= CAFE Practices
Type of Institution Services Building Producer Capacity
NGO Earthwatch offered training for CP, funded by Starbucks
Building Cooperative Capacity
Friedrich Ebert Foundation founded Agro Economic Consultancy (CAE) to build capacity in cooperatives to access FT Clean our fields foundation provides recycling of pesticide containers for RA
Provision of goods: shade trees, recycling, soil testing
Private Chemical companies provide training and recommend pesticides in compliance with certification regulations. Starbucks' Farmer Support Center offers advisory services.
Public Consortia National Learning Institute (INA), Icafe, MAG, Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE)-International Center for Research in Agricultural Development (CIRAD), Department of Labor, National Institute of Innovation and Technology Coocafe offers group Transfer in Agriculture trainings to producers for FT. (INTA).
Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE) provided seedling shade trees for reforestation for CP and FT.
MAG offers free soil testing.
Starbucks funded development of soil analysis software and certified farmer training for CP.
National Institute for Cooperative Support (INFOCOOP) provides financing to cooperatives.
Coocafe offers capacity building to cooperative staff. Suscof trained cooperative staff in sustainable coffee production for Utz. Coocafe offers mock-audits for cooperativess/cooperative members for FT. Provided shade trees for reforestation project for FT. Coocafe offers financial support to member coops for FT.
Chapter 5 Table 14 Summary of time-line series of four case study cooperatives from before certifications to ten years after certification. FT= Fair Trade, RA= Rainforest Alliance, CP= CAFE Practices.
Before certification Cooperatives offer services to members including credit for inputs, group training on productivity and disease management, site visits, soil analysis. Occasionally collaborate with Icafe and/or MAG.
Around the time of certification (+/- 1 year) First certification is FT for Type 1 and 2 coops or an individual certification of the cooperative farm or select member farms in Utz or RA in Type 4. Cooperative may join a consortium to access certifications (3/4 case study cooperatives). Cooperative makes cooperative-level changes (with the help of the consortium) such as upgrades to the mill (FT) and to the system of internal control/traceability for all certifications. Consortia offer training to cooperative administrators (ex. Sustainable production practices (Utz), internal control and traceability systems (Utz, FT)) and occasionally to members (ex. audit preparation for FT, sustainable production practices (FT)).
1-5 years after certification Cooperative stops selling prohibited pesticides in supply store and exerts tighter control on members regarding pesticides. It may take several years to comply. Cooperative assists/encourages members to build pesticide storage shed and provides free signage to members. Cooperative intensifies training to include topics required by certification (soil and water protection, pesticide management and safety for all certs). Continue to use MAG and Icafe to offer trainings, but topics are more diverse (ex. soil management, use of recordbook). Collaborations with new governmental organizations are formed to provide training on new topics such as occupational health and safety. Extra site visits and paperwork are usually handled by existing staff. Cooperative may pursue second certification.
6-10 years after certification Cooperatives continue to adapt to changes in certification regulations including new training requirements, newly prohibited pesticides. New collaborations are formed with NGOs and universities to provide more specialized training (ex. soil analysis software for CP, adaptation to climate change or FT) and services (ex. recycling of pesticide containers for RA and provision of shade trees for RA or CP).
Cooperatives offer more services to their members to help them comply with certification. Most of these services are educational, but may also be in the form of provision of materials and inputs, such as shade trees, compost, signage for pesticide storage sheds or personal protective equipment, while yet others provide tangible solutions to challenges, such as recycling services. Cooperatives who certify individual members mainly target their services and education to certified members. A cooperative agronomist justifies the cooperative’s decision to focus their limited resources on certified producers until more supplies become available, ‘We provide shade trees to [Rainforest Alliance and CAFE Practices] certified producers to help them increase their shade…Right now we only provide them to certified producers, but we would like to provide them to all members [eventually].’ These changes in advisory services are summarized in Table 15. 106
Voluntary Coffee Certifications Influence how Cooperatives Provide Advisory Services to Small-Holder Farmers in Costa Rica Table 15 Advisory services provided by the cooperatives, before and after certifications Before Certifications
Cooperative agronomist, private chemical company representatives, MAG, Icafe
Cooperative agronomists, private chemical company representatives, MAG, Icafe. Sporadic engagement with other governmental organizations and NGOs, stronger engagements with higher education. As capacity is built in cooperative staff outside organizations may be used less.
Group Trainings and field days
Focused on productivity, classroom style. Mostly equal access for all members.
Additional topics beginning with protection of water, reduction of agrochemicals, signage for pesticide storage sheds, personal protective equipment, soil protection, compost, recordkeeping , shade trees (in some cases) and more recently climate change. May focus on individuallycertified members. Mostly classroom style. Additional field days for certified members.
Individual Farm visits
Provided by cooperative agronomist or technician. Focus on productivity, equal but infrequent access for all members.
Provided by cooperative agronomist or technician. Focus on productivity, compliance with certification standards and book keeping. Focus on certified members with more frequent visits per farm.
While advisory services are more intensive and the subjects more diverse because of certifications, a review of the cooperative training records reveals that group trainings remain focused on lecturetype talks or top-down demonstrations. However, these trainings seem to be effecting in convincing members to implement certain management practices. Based on interviews with farmers we found those who attended more training events were more likely to wear a mask when applying pesticides (see Figure 7). An individually-certified farmer who regularly attends trainings sponsored by the cooperative says ‘After the training I realized I should use it.’ Farmers who attend trainings are also more likely to keep a farm record book to record earnings, expenses and the application of inputs than are farmers who never attend group training events. A group training event convinced one farmer of the benefit of maintaining a record book, ‘I’m no longer certified but I still use the record book. It is a good practice.’
Percentage of members in group who employ each practice
Never attends training
Occasionally attends training (1-2 times/year)
Always attends training (3 or more times/year)
10 0 Maintains a farm Uses a mask when recordbook applying pesticides
Figure 7: Management practices in regard to participation in group trainings
Since pre-certification training records are not available for any of the cooperatives, we cannot assess if the frequency of field day-type trainings (in which members visit the farm of another member) have increased. Nevertheless, field days are infrequent. Only cooperatives 3 and 4 offered field days to members in the past three years. According to training records, these field days involved 14% and 9% of the cooperatives’ members, respectively. Icafe collaborated in the field days for both cooperatives, and various agrochemical companies made presentations about their products. Cooperative 4 offers field days annually, with one or two per year open to all members and one event specifically for Rainforest Alliance-certified members. They may use the event for individuallycertified members as an opportunity to distribute free shade trees or cuttings of plants to be used for live vegetative barriers as a means to help certified members comply with certification. Farmer-to-farmer trainings are not formally organized by any of the cooperatives, despite their proven effectiveness in Mexico in spreading knowledge about certified organic practices and in taking some pressure off of technical staff (Bray, Sanchez, & Murphy, 2002). Because changing agricultural practices is a social as well as a technical process (Vanclay, 2004), advisory activities should allow farmers to experiment with new practices, discuss and exchange experiences with other farmers to help them construct new paradigms about what constitutes a sustainable practice.
Voluntary Coffee Certifications Influence how Cooperatives Provide Advisory Services to Small-Holder Farmers in Costa Rica Changes in farming practices There is a consensus among the administrators of the cooperative administration that the environmental and sustainability training brought about by certifications has caused real changes in the farmers’ perceptions about how to manage their farms. A cooperative agronomist explained, ‘There is no doubt that the perceptions of farmers have changed with certifications [in regard to] conservation of soil and water, the use of [personal protective] equipment, the manual control of pests and reduction of chemicals... They no longer think that the farm needs to be 100% free of pests. A certain threshold is acceptable.’ The farmers themselves confirm that their opinions and awareness have changed because of the changing discourse in the cooperative. A member explained that the Fair Trade standard, which requires that all pesticides be locked in a dedicated shed, helped raise awareness about safe pesticide handling practices. ‘Before we kept our pesticides in the kitchen. Now we have a shed.’ Changing paradigms, however, takes time. Agronomists agree that there is a period of transition as farmers unlearn old practices and change their perceptions. Agrochemical use was the most frequently-cited practice in this regard. Cooperative agronomists explain in interviews: ‘At first the farmers went to San José to get the [prohibited] pesticides. Now they realize they can manage without them.’ Though prohibitions of pesticides have drastically reduced the use of some of the most dangerous products, farmers who attend more training sessions are not more likely to use sustainable farming practices that compete with productivity. Members who attend more training sessions are likely to apply fungicides and fertilizers more frequently (See Figure 3). The rise in fungicides may be a result of both the epidemic of coffee rust (Hemileia vastatrix) at the time of the survey and the prohibition of some of the most effective but also most dangerous fungicides. Fungicides with lower toxicity may require more frequent applications. The application of fungicides is a major predictor of yield and harvest quality in this region (Castro-Tanzi, Dietsch, Urena, Vindas, & Chandler, 2012). This puts
Chapter 5 certified cooperatives in a difficult position, since certification standards promote a reduction in pesticide use, yet high quality is a prerequisite for participating in certified markets (Kilian et al., 2004), particularly in CAFE Practices. A cooperative agronomist explains the dilemma, ‘More agrochemicals are needed to raise the quality of the coffee. However, the certifications require a reduction in agrochemicals, so the producer is left wondering how to produce a higher quality crop and also protect the environment.’ Though certifications encourage a reduction in the dependence on agrochemicals, the wording in the standards is not explicit about the frequency of applications. For example from the CAFE Practices standards ‘Pesticides are only applied as a last resort (after cultural and physical controls have failed’ (Starbucks Coffee Company, 2012). Members who frequently attend training make fewer herbicide applications on their coffee plantation (See Figure 3). Though this could be seen as an increase in the environmental consciousness of the producers, it may be an attempt at raising productivity. Of the farmers who reduced the number of herbicide applications, 42% of them reported doing so because of a decrease in soil fertility, as compared to 17% who did so for purely environmental reasons. Only 8% reported reducing herbicides applications in order to comply with a certification standard (specifically Rainforest Alliance).
Voluntary Coffee Certifications Influence how Cooperatives Provide Advisory Services to Small-Holder Farmers in Costa Rica 4,5
Never attends training
3 2,5 2 1,5 1
Occasionally attends training (1-2 times/year) Always attends training (3 or more times/year)
Figure 8 Frequency of farming practices in regard to participation in group training.
The recommendation of fertilizers is also problematic for certified cooperatives. Farmers who attend more training make slightly more applications (Figure 8). Nitrogen applications to coffee plantations in this region, even when they comply with official recommendations, exceed crop requirements (Castro-Tanzi et al., 2012). Certifications are not explicit on the use of fertilizers and generally refer to training. For example the Fair Trade standard states ‘Training must include measures to ensure the fertilizers are applied in amounts that respond to the nutrient need of the crop’ (Fairtrade International, 2014). Cooperatives continue to promote high rates of nitrogen fertilization because they feel that raising yields is the only way to make coffee farming profitable. A cooperative manager tells us, ‘The only solution to the economic problems of coffee producers is to double the production on the same amount of land.’ Certified coffee does not always provide a solution. Farmers may not receive a higher price for certified coffee (Snider et al., Submitted for Publication), so they rely on high yield to recover production costs. In fact, 62% (N=37) of farmers responded they would have applied more fertilizer in the past year if the price of fertilizer had been lower. None of the certification standards specifically address optimizing fertilizer applications, making this an environmental hazard which certifications have little hope of mitigating.
Chapter 5 In some cases the tangible services provided by the cooperative had more impact on farming practices than trainings. The use of shade trees in the coffee plantation is a farming practice encouraged by all of the certification standards. Shade increases coffee quality but lowers plant productivity (Vaast, Bertrand, Perriot, Guyot, & Genard, 2006). However, there were no differences in number of shade trees among farmers who never, occasionally or always attended group training (See Figure 3). Cooperative 2, which is certified in Fair Trade and CAFE Practices offered shade trees free of cost to all producers, and Cooperative 4, which holds the same certifications, did not. Fifty percent of the members in Cooperative 2 responded that they had increased the number of shade trees on their plantation in the last 20 years compared to only 30% of the members of Cooperative 4. Programs such as CAFE Practices and to a lesser extent Rainforest Alliance, which have explicit standards for maintaining a shade canopy in conjunction with high coffee quality standards have arguably the best potential to promote shade production, particularly if shade trees are provided free-of-cost to producers.
Conclusions Certifications have the potential to induce more sustainable practices, but they put considerable strain on the technical department of cooperatives. Because the knowledge required to implement certifications is often initially beyond that of cooperative staff, certifications induce cooperatives to form new collaborations with other stakeholders and to play a much stronger role of intermediary than in the past. These collaborations increase the diversity of perspectives on sustainability issues that are discussed in cooperative meetings, creating a more holistic approach to coffee production and raising awareness about environmental issues. In this sense the certifications contribute to promoting more sustainable agricultural practices. The certifications also change the advisory services of the cooperatives. Advisory services were previously less intensive, contingent upon the training and perspective of one or more cooperative agronomists, and focused on production practices and disease management. Certified cooperatives have increased the diversity of themes discussed and offer trainings on climate change, integrated pest management, pesticide handling and 112
Voluntary Coffee Certifications Influence how Cooperatives Provide Advisory Services to Small-Holder Farmers in Costa Rica safety and soil management. Nevertheless, advisory methods rely mainly on a top-down approach, classroom trainings and individual field visits. Field days and farmer-to-farmer learning or discussion groups are not common in most cooperatives. While the cooperatives have shown a capacity to innovate in the formation of new alliances, there are few innovations in the methods in which advisory services are provided. We observed changes at farm level related to the certifications, but they cannot be attributed to certifications alone. Certifications are one influence on the sustainability of farming practices. Other influences are environmental laws, initiatives of other entities such as NGOs or private companies, indicating a shift in the paradigms of the society. Except decreasing the use of dangerous pesticides, the changes are modest at farm level for different reasons. On one hand change is slow when it requires the unlearning of previous opinions or practices. On the other hand many cooperatives focus their advisory activities and services on certified members who can easily comply with the certifications requirements which limit the scope of changes. Moreover, if members are individually certified, this may mean that some members have access to more services than others. Certifications are most effective in changing the practices that do not compete with coffee yield or quality. Without a premium to offset lower yields from practices such as shade production or reducing agrochemicals, they have little power to change these practices. Fair Trade has the greatest impact on the training services offered by cooperatives while CAFE Practices and Rainforest Alliance have greater impact on farming practices such as the use of shade trees. Rainforest Alliance also increases tangible services such as recycling services and the provision of shade trees. Utz has more effect on management practices such as the use of record books. Based on this research we can recommend greater support of farmers’ organizations in forming collaborations with outside stakeholders. These new collaborations should promote innovation in advisory methods and focus more on learning processes and exchange among members rather than simply knowledge transfer. In order to improve the sustainability of farming practices, more support
Chapter 5 is needed for more tangible solutions such as the distribution of shade tree seedlings as well as farmer-to-farmer and field day-type trainings. Government policy should also support consortia, which are already effectively providing services to help cooperatives increase their sustainability.
Chapter 6: National Contexts Matter: Social Capital and Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica Based on a manuscript by Anna Snider, Ana Afonso Gallegos, Isabel Gutiérrez, Nicole Sibelet
submitted for publication
Abstract We have seen in the previous chapter that voluntary certifications provide direct and indirect environmental and social benefits to cooperatives and their members. They contribute to changing paradigms about sustainable farming and promote a more holistic approach to coffee production. They do this in part by engaging other stakeholders in the sustainability discourse. This can be considered an expansion of the organization’s social capital. In this chapter we explore more deeply this less tangible effect of certification: the interaction between certification and social capital. Social capital, defined as trust, reciprocity, rules, norms, sanctions and networks, has many applications in the management, adoption and management of voluntary certifications. On an individual level, generalized trust in others has been shown to be an important predictor of an individual’s participation in voluntary environmental programs. On the organizational level, social capital, considered a public good, effects organizational learning, management and collective action. To better understand the link between social capital and voluntary certifications, we conducted case studies of five Costa Rican coffee cooperatives. We used a mixed-methods approach consisting of qualitative interviews with cooperative administrators and quantitative household surveys. Social capital of the cooperatives was assessed in six dimensions: groups and networks, trust and solidarity, collective action and cooperation, information and communication, social cohesion and inclusion and empowerment and political action. We applied this information to its effects on the management of sustainable coffee certifications. We found that the level of these six dimensions of social capital affected the manner in which cooperatives manage certifications, incentivize certified members and cooperate with outside organizations. On an individual level, generalized trust was found to have an important link with voluntary participation in Rainforest Alliance certification when no financial incentive was provided. Strategies for managing certifications have the potential to build social capital in cooperatives.
National Contexts Matter: Social Capital and Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica This research has important implications for the management of certifications and other similar voluntary environmental and social programs. It presents some important considerations for employing certification schemes in different national contexts.
Abstract Nous avons vu dans le chapitre précédent que les certifications volontaires offrent des avantages environnementaux et sociaux, directs et indirects, aux coopératives et à leurs membres. Ces certifications contribuent à l'évolution des paradigmes de l'agriculture durable, et à la promotion d'une approche plus globale de la production de café. Ce mécanisme à lieu par le biais de l'engagement d'autres parties prenantes dans le discours sur le développement durable. Cela peut être considéré comme une expansion du capital social de l'organisation. Dans ce chapitre, nous examinons plus profondément l’effet moins tangible de la certification sur le capital social. Le capital social est défini comme la confiance, la réciprocité, les règles, les normes, les sanctions et les réseaux. Il a de nombreuses implications dans la gestion et l'adoption des certifications volontaires. Sur le plan individuel, il a été démontré que la confiance généralisée envers les autres est un déterminant important de la participation d'un individu à des programmes environnementaux volontaires. Sur le plan organisationnel, le capital social, considéré comme un bien public, affecte l'apprentissage organisationnel, la gestion de la certification et l'action collective. Afin de mieux comprendre le lien entre le capital social et les certifications volontaires, nous avons mené des études de cas sur cinq coopératives de café du Costa Rica. Nous avons utilisé une méthodologie mixte constituée d'entretiens qualitatifs auprès des administrateurs de coopération et d’enquêtes quantitatives auprès des ménages. Le capital social des coopératives a été évalué à travers six dimensions: les groupes et les réseaux, la confiance et la solidarité, l'action collective et la coopération, l'information et la communication, la cohésion sociale et l'inclusion, et l'autonomisation et l'action politique. Nous avons analysé les effets du capital social sur la gestion des certifications de café durable.
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Chapter 6 Nous avons constaté que le niveau de ces six dimensions du capital social affecte la manière dont les coopératives gèrent les certifications, incitent les membres agréés et coopèrent avec des organisations extérieures. Sur le plan individuel, la confiance généralisée a un lien important avec la participation volontaire à la certification Rainforest Alliance, qui ne fournit aucune incitation financière. Les stratégies de gestion des certifications ont le potentiel de renforcer le capital social dans les coopératives. Ce travail a des implications importantes pour la gestion des certifications et des programmes volontaires environnementaux et sociaux qui sont similaires. Il présente certains déterminants importants pour la mise en place de systèmes de certification dans différents contextes nationaux.
Introduction Giovannucci and Ponte (2005) indicate that, in the right environment, voluntary certifications can create a virtuous cycle of empowerment in farmers’ organizations. Conversely, group cohesion can be lost if certifications are poorly managed. Empirical evidence reports a wide variation in the effectiveness of certifications in improving livelihoods and protecting the environment. The evidence ranges from positive effects on livelihoods (Bacon, 2005) and the environment (A. Blackman & Naranjo, 2012) to negative effects on farmer income or equality (Cramer et al., 2014; Fraser et al., 2013; Getz, 2008; González & Nigh, 2005). The effectiveness of certifications depends largely on the national context (Elder et al., 2013). Approximately 30% of the coffee produced in Costa Rica is standard-compliant (Potts et al., 2014). The low labor to land ratio in Costa Rica in the late 1800s along with the country’s land tenure policies resulted in a coffee industry that was dominated by small and medium-sized farms which relied heavily on family labor (Luetchford, 2008; Williams, 1994). In Costa Rica the coffee sector was the only agricultural sector that emerged from structural adjustment of the 1980s still dominated by small-holder production (N. L. Babin, 2012). State regulation helped maintain small-holder production by limiting the amount of profit that mills could retain for their services and setting minimum farm-gate prices (N. L. Babin, 2012; Vunderink, 1990). Other cooperative sectors, such as the dairy and the black bean sectors, do not enjoy similar high levels of social capital. The milk cooperatives in Costa Rica also are able to protect the interest of producers by influencing policy. This, however, is accomplished partly through cronyism within the government ministries (Maître D'Hôtel & Bosc, 2011). The black bean sector in Costa Rica is not able to protect the interest of producers due to the lack of human capital within the cooperative sector and lack of vertical connections to policy networks (Maître D'Hôtel & Bosc, 2011). Costa Rica’s small coffee cooperatives have largely overcome the problems of low human capital in cooperative administration and lack of agency with the formation of second-level cooperatives, in particular the Consortium of Cooperatives of Coffee Producers of Guanacaste and Montes de Oro
Chapter 6 (Coocafe), which was created to help small cooperatives access Fair Trade certification (Luetchford, 2008). The majority of the literature on certifications in Costa Rica describe a positive effect on farmer livelihoods in which incentives at the cooperative level are distributed in a transparent manner and the interests of small farmers are protected (Luetchford, 2008; Ronchi, 2002; Ruben et al., 2009). Analyses of the environmental effects of certifications in Costa Rica have shown small but measureable improvements in the sustainability of farming practices (A. Blackman & Naranjo, 2012; Quispe, 2007; Sibelet, Laffourcade, & Gutiérrez, 2015; Snider, Kraus, Sibelet, Bosselmann, & Faure, Manuscript submitted for publication). Studies on financial incentives for voluntary certifications in Costa Rica find that the effects on income are positive, although they are often insignificant (N. Babin, 2014). Nevertheless the Costa Rican coffee industry is not without corruption, and at least one case study found that cronyism in a cooperative and exorbitant interest rates charged by secondlevel cooperatives reduced farmers’ financial benefit from Fair Trade (N. L. Babin, 2012). Because the overall analysis is that certifications are effective in Costa Rica and cooperatives are able to recover from an occasional lapse in transparency, it is valuable to examine the national context of Costa Rica to better understand which factors are important for certification efficacy. Social and organizational components are vital to consider when implementing programs which aim to improve the sustainability of communities (Pretty & Uphoff, 2002). Social capital has many applications in the management, adoption and acceptance of sustainability certifications. Social capital encompasses cooperation, social organization and human interaction and is measured by proxies such as trust, reciprocity, rules, norms, sanctions and networks (Svendsen & Svendsen, 2009). Analyzing the social capital of a region or a nation gives us insight into why people do what they do and into the manner in which they do it (Gross & Rayner, 1985) and on the effectiveness of its organizations (Kramer, 1999). Social capital has additional implications that are important to consider in the management of voluntary certifications. High levels of social capital can facilitate the conservation of natural 120
National Contexts Matter: Social Capital and Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica resources, but when levels are low state intervention may be required for effective natural resource protection (K. M. Sønderskov, 2009). The implementation of certifications requires education and training about new farming practices (Hatanaka, Bain, & Busch, 2005), and high levels of social capital have a positive effect on organizational learning (Chang, 2011), innovation (Carmona-Lavado, Cuevas-Rodríguez, & Cabello-Medina, 2010) and on the diffusion of information on sustainable agricultural practices (Compagnone & Hellec, 2015). Certifications can build (Bacon, 2010) or destroy social capital (Elder et al., 2012; Getz, 2008). They also have the potential to improve the environmental and social sustainability of participants (Bacon, 2008). Though research shows differential effects of certifications in different national contexts, there is little research on which aspects national context may be important to predict the efficacy of certifications. This research attempts to begin to fill this gap. Because of the balance of social capital within a community is important for the effectiveness of collective action (Agnitsch, Flora, & Ryan, 2006) and the social capital of an organization influences that organization’s effectiveness (Cohen & Prusak, 2001), we focus on these two aspects of social analysis. The objective of this study is to better understand the link between social capital and voluntary certifications. We accomplish this by studying how social capital is manifested in Costa Rican coffee cooperatives and how these manifestations affect the management of certifications. We examine the interactions between the social capital of the membership and the social capital of the organization to better understand how cooperative institutions affect the membership and vice versa. We use these results to discuss how the potential for voluntary certifications to build social capital can be increased to enhance both development and environmental protection and how national contexts affect this process.
Classifying social capital to predict collective action Social capital can be classified into bonding and bridging social capital (Svendsen & Svendsen, 2009). Bonding social capital (sometimes called group (Gross & Rayner, 1985) or relational embeddedness
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Chapter 6 (Carmona-Lavado et al., 2010)) refers to networks of members within the same group or category, and bridging social capital refers to social links and trust of people from outside groups. By visualizing the balance between the two classifications of social capital on a two-by-two graph, we can better understand the interactions between the two (See Figure 1). A deficit of one form of social capital can be compensated by the other (Agnitsch et al., 2006). The advantage of classifying these social units into the bridging/bonding framework is that by understanding the dynamics of social processes we can apply them to other societies (Gross & Rayner, 1985) and predict levels of collective action in a group or community (Flora, Flora, & Gasteyer, 2015). Organizations with high levels of bonding social capital are close-knit and solidary. Bonding social capital increases within a group with the frequency and diversity of interactions with other members (Caulkins, 2009). Bridging social capital is manifested as generalized trust in others, vertical social networks, inclusion and membership in cooperative associations (Svendsen & Svendsen, 2009). Bridging social capital mitigates group boundaries and lowers individual autonomy (Caulkins, 2009). Groups are not homogenous in their composition and contain a mix of individuals which may belong to the four different quadrants seen in Figure 1, though one quadrant may be more prevalent. Organizations and individuals are also not static within one quadrant, and the balance of bridging and bonding social capital may change due to internal and external forces. Social organization is dependent on the interaction among groups and individuals in the four quadrants represented in Figure 9 (Caulkins, 2009).
National Contexts Matter: Social Capital and Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica
Figure 9 : Balance between bridging and bonding social capital in societies and the implications on social engagement. Adapted from various authors (Bitzer et al., 2008; Caulkins, 2009; Flora et al., 2015; Gross and Rayner, 1985).
Gender inclusion is an important component of the Fair Trade standard (Ruben & Zuñiga, 2011) but cooperatives have had mixed results regarding the inclusion and empowerment of women (Bacon, 2010; Lyon, 2008). Women are often excluded from development programs due in part to the traditional values of some cultures and to unequal opportunities inherent in the program design (Gutiérrez-Montes, Emery, & Fernandez-Baca, 2012). Women also generally develop lower levels of bridging social capital than men (Collado, 2007; Gotschi, Njuki, & Delve, 2009). This combination of factors compounds the exclusion of women from conservation programs. However if women are included in leadership positions in mixed-gender groups their levels of social capital match those of men (Gotschi et al., 2009). Furthermore, women’s presence in groups increases the collaboration, solidarity and conflict resolution and may direct the group toward a more regenerative rather than reactive approach to natural resource management (Westermann, Ashby, & Pretty, 2005).
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Voluntary Certifications in Costa Rica Costa Rican cooperatives actively participate in certifications. The most popular certifications within the cooperatives are Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, Starbuck’s Coffee and Farmer Equity (CAFE) Practices, Utz and organic, while fewer than ten percent of Costa Rica’s 22 coffee cooperatives participate certifications such as 4C, Nespresso AAA and Harvested by Women (Snider et al., Submitted for Publication). Cooperatives are essential for small farmers to access the benefits of certifications (Faure, Le Coq, et al., 2012), and cooperatives may choose to certify all (collective certification) or only a portion (individual certification) of their members (Snider et al., Submitted for Publication). Costa Rica has a strong cooperative sector that was created to increase economic efficiency, but also to pursue social reform and embeddedness (Luetchford, 2008). The cooperative movement in Costa Rica’s coffee sector began in the early 1900s with a collective action of small producers who wanted to ‘free themselves from the tyranny of the private mills,’ (Castro, 2013), giving small-scale farmers important access to export markets (Maître D'Hôtel & Bosc, 2011). The standards for certifications are similar, but focus on promoting different aspects of sustainability (Raynolds et al., 2007). Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance standards emphasize social and environmental themes, while Utz focuses on traceability and good agricultural practices (Raynolds et al., 2007). CAFE Practices and Nespresso AAA are private standards which focus on quality and environmental management (Alvarez et al., 2010). Harvested by Women focuses on gender inclusion and employment relationships (International Trade Centre, 2012) while organic certification emphasizes environmental regulation (Raynolds et al., 2007).
Materials and Methods Snider et al. (Submitted for Publication) describes a typology of Costa Rican coffee cooperatives based on their participation in certifications. We used this typology to choose five cooperatives for further study. Cooperatives were chosen for a diversity of type, geographical diversity and diversity of certifications (see Table 16). Case studies were conducted using a mixed-methods approach which
National Contexts Matter: Social Capital and Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica consisted of semi-structured interviews (N. Sibelet et al., 2013) with cooperative administrators to assess the organizational levels of social capital and quantitative surveys of members to assess individual levels of social capital. Table 14 summarizes the interviews and surveys conducted at the five cooperatives. Table 16: Summary of data collection at six Costa Rican coffee cooperatives.
Coop number 1
Approximate number of Type Region members Certifications 1 Guanacaste 170 Fair Trade, organic
Qualitative interviews of administrators 1 manager
Quantitative surveys of members 19
Percentage of total membership surveyed 11
Percentage of female members in coop 11
Percentage of female members surveyed 10
1 manager, 3 agronomists
1 manager, 1 agronomist 3 managers
Rainforest Alliance, Utz, CAFE Practices, Nespresso AAA Fair Trade, CAFE Practices Fair Trade, CAFE Practices, Rainforest Alliance, Harvested by Women none
Organizational social capital Qualitative interviews with cooperative administrators covered topics such as strategies for managing certifications, partnerships with other organizations, cooperative programs, services and policies. Jones and Woolcock (2007) outline six dimensions of social capital: groups and networks, trust and solidarity, collective action and cooperation, information and communication, social cohesion and inclusion and empowerment and political action. Each of these dimensions has both bridging and bonding components. Each cooperative was given a rating between + + (very high levels of social capital) and − − (very low levels of social capital) in each of the six dimensions. These ratings are based on the observed indicators as interpreted by the authors (see Table 17).
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Chapter 6 Social capital of cooperative membership One hundred twenty quantitative surveys were conducted based on snowball sampling of members of the five case study cooperatives in proportion to the number of members in the cooperative and the percentage of female members in each cooperative. The survey was adapted from the core questions of the World Bank Social Capital Survey (Grootaert, 2004) and was conducted in Spanish, the mother tongue of all interviewees. Participants were asked questions pertaining to the six dimensions adapted from Jones and Woolcock (2007). The survey questions were divided into those measuring bridging and those measuring bonding social capital. Answers were recorded either as a yes or no answer, an absolute number (for example, the number of groups to which the individual belongs), or on a Likert scale (for example, ‘How much do you trust the cooperative’s administration?’ 0= to a very small extent, 1= to a small extent, 2= neither great nor small extent, 3= to a great extent, 4= to a very great extent). Two focus group discussions were held with cooperative members to crosscheck and discuss results. We created an index to graphically depict the responses of cooperative members on a 2X2 graph and to analyze which patterns emerge within the cooperatives. We applied the following formula to each response to obtain a number between 0 and 1:
This formula is used to normalize values measured on different scales to a common scale between 0 and 1. This enables us to 1) compare values 2) measure how far the achievement of the indicator is from the optimum (the maximum value = 1) and 3) integrate the different values into two single combined multidimensional indexes (one to measure bonding, the other to measure bridging). An average score for bridging social capital (y axis) and bonding social capital (x axis) was calculated for each respondent and plotted in Figure 2. An elliptical regression was plotted for the data from Cooperatives 1-4 (Cooperative 5 was excluded because of small sample size) using a computer algebra system (the software Maple). 126
National Contexts Matter: Social Capital and Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica
Results and Discussion Social Capital in Cooperatives and the Effects on the Management of Certifications Social capital at the cooperative level Based on the interviews and surveys implemented, it can be said that the social capital in Costa Rican cooperatives affects how they manage certifications, including who benefits from certifications and how changes in farming practices are incentivized (see Table 17). Costa Rican coffee cooperatives have a long experience of mutually beneficial relationships with buyers, slowly building trust between the actors. A corporate buyer from Starbucks said in an interview, ‘To be honest, I’ve never had a problem with [cooperatives from] Costa Rica. They always honor their contracts.’ Though levels of generalized trust are in the mid-range compared to other countries in Latin America (Latinobarómetro, 2015b), high levels of governmental regulation of the coffee industry compensate for lack of generalized trust. Interpersonal trust, when it is lacking, is replaced by institutional trust (Frey & Jegen, 1999). Cooperative 1 is a small cooperative in a marginal coffee-growing area. It has recently dismissed administrators and members of the board because of corruption. Nevertheless, the cooperative was able to eject the corrupt individuals and, by dealing with the dismissals in a transparent manner and by frankly communicating the financial situation, rebuild trust among the members. As a result of this effort, 47% of the members surveyed responded that trust in the administration has increased since the corrupt individuals were removed. The small number of members and geographic isolation of the communities are a challenge for Cooperative 1. The vast majority of members do not have regular internet access, so cooperative employees communicate with members by placing flyers on their doors. While this puts considerable strain on the human resources of the cooperative it also increases face-to-face communication. The manager at Cooperative 1 says ‘I know [a certain member] can't read, so I call him [instead of putting a note on his door] when there is a training.’
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Chapter 6 Cooperative 1 (as well as Cooperative 3) is able to increase its agency by membership in a consortium. Small cooperatives find they have more political influence through their participation in the consortium Coocafe. The former manager of Coopeldos is quoted in Luetchford (2008), ‘it is not the same to attend a meeting as a representative of the 500 members of one cooperative as it is to go with the support of the 3,000 members of Coocafe’. The agency and the human capital that Cooperative 1 gets from its membership in Coocafe make its participation in certifications possible. Cooperative 2 is a large, diversified cooperative which makes good use of its networks to provide training and other services to members. Because of its medium-high levels of bonding social capital, the cooperative maintains many social policies such as investing profits in local communities and in schools. However, the large size of the cooperative makes communication difficult and not all members can attend assemblies or access certifications. The high bridging social capital is manifested in the way the cooperative rewards high-performing members with access to certifications. The cooperative certifies only enough members, often members of the board, to satisfy the demand for certified coffee. This allows the cooperative to provide a small financial incentive and specialized training to certified farmers. Large farms are given priority for certification and other members are often unaware of the opportunities for certification. However, the cooperative strives to be inclusive in other ways by promoting the membership of women and by offering training for day laborers. Cooperatives 3 and 4 (the two cooperatives in Tarrazú), show the highest levels of bonding social capital and group identity among the cooperatives in this study. The older members of Cooperative 3 remember the struggle and collaboration that was needed to form the cooperative in the 1970s. A founding member of the cooperative remembers the significance to the members, ‘Before the cooperative we had to ride six hours on horseback to deliver our coffee.’ However this strong feeling of solidarity sometimes results in the exclusion of outsiders. The same member says, ‘A manager must be from the village. Outsiders cannot understand our problems.’ Founding members normally have a stronger bonding connection to their cooperative (Wollni & Zeller, 2007). 128
National Contexts Matter: Social Capital and Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica Luetchford (2008) characterizes Costa Rican coffee cooperatives as a protective mother which takes care of its children, or ‘mama cooperativa.’ This relationship is particularly apparent in Cooperative 3 who refers to ‘our cooperative family’ in its internal documents. This serves to embed the cooperative into the economic and social life of the community. A long-time member of the cooperative explains why she is a member, ‘They are part of the community. They pay attention to the community.’ High levels of bonding social capital and a strong sense of community prompt the cooperative to certify all members despite the lack of demand for certified coffee and the strain that this puts on the human resources of the cooperative. The cooperative agronomist explains the decision, ‘In that way everyone has the same access to training.’ The decision to certify all members is based on the management’s desire for equality rather than on economics; the cooperative could save on auditing and management costs by certifying only enough farms to fulfill demand. Cooperative 4 also places a strong emphasis on the equality and solidarity of members. It pays all members the same price for their coffee, regardless of the elevation at which it was produced or the certifications. A manager explains, ‘Coffee farms are handed down from generation to generation. We don’t want to punish someone for being born at a low elevation,’ exemplifying the close-knit community typical of groups with high bonding social capital. The high levels of bonding social capital in Cooperative 4 are balanced by somewhat higher levels of bridging social capital than observed in Cooperative 3. The cooperative allows individual members to pursue Rainforest Alliance certification for their farms (the cooperative manages and owns the certification). However the cooperative’s ideology of equality does not allow it to pay these members a differential price for the certification. The cooperative instead offers in-kind support in the form of specialized trainings, equipment and plant material. Cooperative 5 has low levels of all six dimensions of social capital. The members are weakly united producers of high quality coffee. Unlike most cooperatives, it does not provide any services to its members beyond basic processing of the harvest and is untethered by loyalties to outside organizations. A member of the board describes the coop as ‘a black sheep’ and says that other 129 | P a g e
Chapter 6 cooperatives in the area ‘consider us as a threat.’ Administrators of Cooperative 5 consider the cooperative’s existence tenuous because they have not been able to leverage the funding from state institutions such as INFOCOOP (National Institute of Cooperative Support), a public institution that offers credit and support to cooperatives. ‘The large cooperatives dominate these organizations,’ explains the cooperative manager. The organizational culture of Cooperative 5 is individualistic, competitive and entrepreneurial. Perhaps the most limiting factor in Cooperative 5’s access to certifications is the lack of empowerment and political action. Small cooperatives often need the support of consortia to access certifications (Ronchi, 2002; Snider et al., Submitted for Publication), but Cooperative 5 has shown an unwillingness/inability to work with other organizations and cooperatives. Empowerment and political action is the dimension that allows individuals and organizations mobilize the social capital that they have through negotiation and influence on the institutions which affect them (Jones & Woolcock, 2009) and is one of the most important factors in activating the social capital inherent in communities (Krishna, 2002). Cooperatives with the highest levels of bonding social capital and therefore, the highest sense of group solidarity, choose to pay all members equally, regardless of quality or certifications. If they offer incentives to certified farmers they offer it as in-kind contributions of plant material, training or equipment. Cooperatives with the highest levels of bridging social capital participate to a limited extent in several certifications and offer these certifications to a few members who are able to meet the standards. The balance of bridging and bonding social capital is essential to prevent this selective participation from causing high levels of inequality among the members. Corruption in the administration does not have to be lethal to the trust in a cooperative if it is dealt with quickly and in a transparent manner. Two cooperatives in this study were able to recover from corruption by drawing on the social capital in the organization.
National Contexts Matter: Social Capital and Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica Table 17: Summary of observed indicators of six dimensions of social capital at five cooperatives and how it is manifested in the management of certifications. Coop number
Collective Action and Cooperation
Information and Communication
+ Volunteer road-building crews are common within the communities, but geographic distance reduces collective effort of cooperative.
+ Isolation of communities makes communication difficult, but small number of members somewhat counteracts this. Attendance at cooperative events is relatively high.
+ Cooperative policies do not encourage the participation of women.
++ Participation in consortium empowers the small coop and compensates for lack of human resources.
++ ++ Many networks, both High levels of trust in horizontal and vertical. administration. Use of C6governmental organizations and NGOs to provide training and services related to certifications. Coordination of harvest with local mills and coops.
+ + Collective action high in rural areas. Coop balances social and entrepreneurial policies
+ For most members coop is main source of information about coffee production. However attendance at coop events is low. Large size makes communication difficult.
+ Good inclusion of women. Some trainings open to only certified members. The only cooperative to offer training for daylaborers.
++ Large and established cooperative, very influential in government organizations.
+ Many vertical network connections with governmental organizations and NGOs. Weaker horizontal connections with local mills and coops.
+ Members of board of directors were voted off the board in a democratic manner, albeit not without name-calling and lack of transparency. Older members talk about the collective action efforts to form the cooperative.
++ Cooperative is important and often only source of information about coffee production.
++ Extensive efforts on part of administration to ensure equal opportunities for all members.
++ Participation in consortium empowers the small coop and compensates for lack of human resources.
Groups and Networks
Trust and Solidarity
+ Does not seek out collaborations with other entities, but works with those that approach them.
+ Corruption in former coop administration has damaged trust, however members display trust in current administration. Corrupt administrators were dismissed in a transparent manner.
+ Problems with corruption and incompetence have damaged trust. Members of the administration disagree on appropriate level of transparency.
Social Cohesion and Inclusion
Empowerment and Political Action
Participation in Certifications Financial compensation for individual certification. Certifications are a result of the efforts of an external NGO, not collective action on the part of the members, which suggests a level of clientelism. Business-like approach to certifications. Few, carefully chosen and compensated members for individual certifications. Certified members must sign a contract to sell 100% of harvest to the coop. All-or-nothing approach-- only collective certifications with premium shared among all members.
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Chapter 6 4
+ Many vertical network connections with governmental organizations and NGOs. Weaker horizontal connections with local mills and coops. − Very few networks. "we are like the black sheep 1 among the cooperatives. "
+ Strong sense of solidarity within cooperative. Some communities displayed distrust of outsiders (interlocutor) and refusal to complete the survey.
++ Direct sales promote collective action of communities with the help of the cooperative.
+ Coop is of medium importance as a source of information about coffee production/disease. Attendance at cooperative events is low.
++ Efforts made to ensure equality of all members and inclusion of women. Certified members receive more training and more farm visits.
++ Large and established cooperative, very influential in government organizations.
+ Members are free to sell to any buyer, not required to sell to cooperative.
− Cooperative arose out of struggle for recognition of superior quality, but members are loosely affiliated.
− Two meetings per year and no other cooperative events/trainings.
− No records on the number of women in cooperative. Only cooperative to restrict membership to producers at high elevation.
−− Governmental Organizations "have turned their backs on 1 us. "
Source: Interview with cooperative manager.
Both collective and individual certifications but all producers paid same price regardless of certification. In-kind support for individually-certified members. None. Lacks networks to harness to provide services to access certification. Lacks agency.
National Contexts Matter: Social Capital and Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica
Figure 10: Levels of bridging and bonding social capital of the membership of four Costa Rican coffee cooperatives.
Bridging and Bonding Social Capital in Costa Rican Cooperatives The results of the quantitative surveys of members of Cooperatives 1-5 are shown in Figure 10 (Cooperative 5 does not have an elliptical regression because of small sample size). The goal of this analysis is to describe the social capital of the social unit of the cooperative membership. Therefore, we look at the general pattern of the data points. The elliptical regression shows that the differences between individuals are greater than the difference between the cooperatives. We see very little difference among the cooperatives, with the majority of the responses falling in the lower middle portion of Quadrant C. This is indicative of medium-high levels of bridging social capital and high levels of bonding social capital. Bonding social capital is normally higher than bridging social capital in Latin America (Fukuyama, 2001), and membership in the cooperative gives individuals agency and 133 | P a g e
Chapter 6 access to outside information that they would not normally have. Institutional trust also compensates when generalized trust is low (Frey & Jegen, 1999), further helping to balance the memberships’ high levels of bonding social capital with their lower levels of bridging social capital. Incongruities between the social capital of membership and organization We observed several cases of incongruity between the social capital of the cooperative membership and the social capital of the organization. We attribute this to the strong influence of the social capital and ideologies of administrators of the cooperative on the policies and management of the cooperative. Administrators can use policies to promote a sense of group identity (Cohen & Prusak, 2001), as we observed in Cooperatives 3 and 4, which put a strong emphasis on equality within the cooperative. However it is not clear from the results in Figure 2 that these policies have had a great effect on the social capital of its membership. Cooperative 3 has the strongest ideology about equality and this is reflected in its management of certifications: all certifications are managed as collective certifications. A cooperative administrator says, ‘The message we want to give to the producers is that everyone is equal,’ demonstrating a feeling of collectivism in the cooperative policy. However this feeling is less strong among the members. Thirty-one percent of the members said that the cooperative’s policy of paying all members equally with no financial rewards for higher quality caused ‘a little bit of tension’ among the members. Because of the effect that a small group of administrators has on organizational culture, we find that the social capital of the administration is not always perfectly aligned with that of the members. Cooperative 4 also has a strong organizational ideology of equality, reflected by its policy of paying the same price to all members, regardless of elevations and certifications. A manager acknowledges the members do not completely share this ideology, ‘The payment of a differential for quality is a difficult theme. The farmers want it, but we choose not to pay for it. It is a social economy.’ An unintended consequence of a cooperative’s policy of equal payment may be a reduction in overall quality. We also see a high number of micro-mills opening in the Tarrazú area where Cooperatives 3 134
National Contexts Matter: Social Capital and Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica and 4 are located which are started by farmers who feel they produce a high quality coffee and would like to be compensated for it. A small-holder farmer in Tarrazú told us ‘I sell my highest quality coffee to the micro-mill where they pay a good price for it and the rest I sell to the cooperative.’ A large cooperative in the West Valley with a policy of equal pricing also encountered this problem. The result was the creation of Cooperative 5. The manager at Cooperative 5 elaborates, ‘we felt we had a really high quality product, but they [the administration of the large cooperative] wouldn’t process it separately [and offer a higher price] so we started our own cooperative.’ Eventually the large cooperative changed its one-price policy and now offers a premium to individually-certified members. The board members of Cooperative 5 are members of several professional organizations, exhibiting high levels of personal bridging social capital. However, the cooperative has not been able to take advantage of the bridging capital of its members and is left isolated. Though the sample size of the survey of the membership of Cooperative 5 is very small (two members equal to 4% of the membership), the indices for these two members fall within the average of the members of other cooperatives. The observed indicators of organizational social capital, however, place the cooperative in Quadrant A. Generalized Trust and Voluntary Participation in Certification Generalized trust (the belief that most people can be trusted) is an important component of social capital. Generalized trust
has been linked to participation in collective action and voluntary
programs (Anheier & Kendall, 2002; Paxton, 2007), in particular environmental programs (Lubell, 2004; Sønderskov, 2008; Yandle, Hajj, & Raciborski, 2011). Individuals with high social capital voluntarily participate in collective environmental activities, confident that others will do the same (Pretty, 2003). Generalized trust is needed for fundamental changes in sustainability programs because, as stated by Cohen and Prusak (2001), ‘Force can only compel compliance, and compliance is not enough. Commitment is required, and commitment cannot exist without trust.’
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Chapter 6 Working in the Tarrazú region, the same geographical area as Cooperatives 3 and 4, Hopfensitz and Miquel-Florensa (2013) found that cooperative members with Rainforest Alliance certification contribute significantly more to the public good in laboratory behavior experiments than uncertified members. The researchers correlate the results of their laboratory experiment (higher public goods contributions) with the real-world behavior of the participants (membership in the voluntary Rainforest Alliance certification program). Because of the specific guidelines on the fair treatment and good working conditions for workers and protection of common pool resources such as water and biodiversity (Rainforest Alliance & SalvaNatura, 2010), participation in Rainforest Alliance certification can be considered a contribution to the public good. Other studies have found a positive correlation between generalized trust and higher public goods contributions in experimental games (Anderson, Mellor, & Milyo, 2004), and so generalized trust and public goods contributions can both be linked with participation in voluntary certifications. Our findings confirm this. In Cooperative 4, a large cooperative with 2900 members, 120 of whom have voluntarily complied with Rainforest Alliance certification, we see higher levels of generalized trust in certified (45%) than uncertified (25%) members (see Table 18.) Rainforest Alliance certification has extensive regulations protecting the environment (Raynolds et al., 2007). Farmers’ main motivation to participate in Rainforest Alliance certification is to improve the environmental sustainability of their farm (Quispe, 2007). Therefore we conclude that participation in Rainforest Alliance certification is correlated with higher levels of trust in much the same way as participation in other voluntary environmental programs (Kim Mannemar Sønderskov, 2009). In Cooperative 2, also a large cooperative with 2100 members, only six of whom have Utz certification, we see no significant difference between generalized trust of certified and uncertified members. Utz is also considered a sustainable coffee certification because it has both environmental and social standards, although both sets of standards are less stringent than Rainforest Alliance. The main emphases of Utz certification are on recordkeeping and traceability (Raynolds et al., 2007).
National Contexts Matter: Social Capital and Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica Our study contributes to the evidence that Rainforest Alliance-certified farmers have higher levels of trust which compel them to contribute to the public good, in this case by voluntarily protecting natural resources. Hopfensitz and Miquel-Florensa (2013) conclude that the norms and sanctions associated with Rainforest Alliance certification strengthen trust among the participants. However, since most participants have been certified for fewer than five years, evidence is weak that participation in this program has built these high levels of trust. We argue, in accordance with Nannestad (2007), that causality runs from trust to voluntarism. Rainforest Alliance certification was not randomly assigned to members; participants either volunteered for the certification or were asked by cooperative administrators to participate because of natural resource protection practices already in place on their farm and because of their history of loyalty to the cooperative. The manifestations of generalized trust displayed by these individuals indirectly played a role in their participation. One certified members said that the agronomists from the cooperative ‘looked for me [to participate in the certification] because I had a lot of shade trees.’ Another certified member explains that he joined Rainforest Alliance because he values biodiversity on his farm, ‘My mentality is similar to that of the certification.’ The low (although rapidly growing) demand for Rainforest Alliance certified coffee (Potts et al., 2014) means that cooperatives such as Cooperative 4 can rely on members who have intrinsic motivations to uphold the norms of certification and the cooperative does not have to resort to direct economic incentives to induce participation (Flora et al., 2015). Cooperative 4 has a strong ideology of equality and they feel that it is important to pay all members the same price, regardless of certifications, elevation of the farm or quality. ‘We are all equal,’ the management has said many times in interviews.
They do acknowledge that compliance with
certifications has significant costs to the producers and the cooperative provides free training, shade tree seedlings, cuttings of plants used for vegetative barriers, personal protective equipment and compost to help certified producers upgrade their farms to comply with the standards.
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Chapter 6 Table 18: Frequency of generalized trust among Rainforest Alliance certified members, Utz certified members and uncertified members of cooperatives.
Coop 4 Rainforest Alliance certified (N=11)
Generally speaking, one can trust most people One can't be too careful when dealing with others Total
Uncertified members (N=32)
Utz certified (N=6)
Uncertified members (N=37)
The reason that we see a difference in the generalized trust of certified members in one cooperative and not the other may have to do with financial incentives. Farmers’ primary motivation to participate in Utz certification is to earn a higher price (Quispe, 2007). Cooperative 2 feels that members should be financially rewarded for their participation in voluntary standards. ‘The producer needs money,’ says the sales manager. This premium is useful in incentivizing farmers to participate in the program and acknowledges the extra bookkeeping required for the certification. Pretty and Smith (2004) maintain that financially-compensated participation in environmental programs does not positively impact biodiversity nor cause lasting change in behavior. However, there is evidence that compensated participation, such as participation in payment for environmental services programs, increases social capital among the participants by forging bridging network connections (Pagiola, Arcenas, & Platais, 2005). Paid participation may be a way to increase participation in environmental programs in areas where social capital is low enough to inhibit participation. The difference observed between the two cooperatives may also be linked to the differences in the standards of the two certifications. While participation in Rainforest Alliance can be considered a contribution to the public good, farmers consider participation in Utz a business decision (Quispe, 2007).
National Contexts Matter: Social Capital and Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica Social Capital and Certifications: A Virtuous Cycle? The general consensus on social capital is that it is easy to destroy but difficult to build (Colletta & Cullen, 2000; Putnam, Leonardi, & Nanetti, 1994). However, Durston (1998) gives a more optimistic view of the potential to construct social capital, even in communities where it appears not to exist. These communities possess a latent social capital that can be activated with well-managed development programs. We see the potential for cooperatives to use certifications to increase social capital in four main areas: strengthening cooperatives and their embeddedness in the community and the local economy, increasing the cooperative’s external network connections, reinforcing norms by way of standards, and increasing inclusion. Strengthening Cooperatives’ Embeddedness Through globalization, traditional systems of economic exchange become disembedded from social relations as transactions become more open and less personal. This transformation lowers social capital (Colletta & Cullen, 2000). The social component inherent in the cooperative model makes cooperatives exemplary of economic embeddedness and can serve to counteract this transformation (Levi & Pellegrin-Rescia, 1997). Fair Trade and, to a lesser extent, organic certification, serve to re-embed agriculture and agricultural cooperatives into natural and social processes by creating alternative trading networks which transcend competition based solely on price and by creating stronger links between producers and consumers (L. Raynolds, 2000). We found a strong sense of community within the cooperatives. When asked why they joined their cooperative, members participating in a focus group discussion described how the cooperative is an integral part of their community. ‘[I joined the cooperative] to be part of something bigger.’ ‘I am the owner.’ ‘The cooperative is more stable. The others [private mills] disappear.’ Costa Rican cooperatives, particularly those with high bonding social capital which engenders a strong sense of solidarity within the cooperative, often use certification premiums to support 139 | P a g e
Chapter 6 community programs. Cooperative 4 uses the premiums earned from Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance to fund their sustainability program. The program activities include health fairs and environmental education programs for children. Longevity, consistency and regularity of contact between farmers and advisors are essential for building the social capital needed to turn information about sustainable farming technique into usable knowledge (Fisher, 2013). We found an increase in interaction between cooperative administrators and members resulting from certifications. Certifications oblige cooperatives to offer more intense and diverse training to their members and increase the frequency of farm visits by agronomists and technicians. Nevertheless, most of the producers’ network links created by certifications are horizontal links within the cooperative. The vertical links created by certifications are mainly unidirectional, providing producer information to consumers. Farmers and cooperatives are unlikely to gain information about the consumers of certified products (Daviron & Ponte, 2005). We see potential for building multi-directional vertical links in community-focused direct trade, either in combination with or independent of certifications. Cooperative 4 engages in direct trade which has the potential to build social capital better than certifications alone. The cooperative processes small batches of coffee harvested from communities within the cooperative. The cooperative then finds a buyer interested in the specific quality and flavor profile of the coffee produced in this community. The buyer, often a gourmet coffee shop in Australia, the United States, or Japan, pays a premium for the product, often as much as twice the current price on the New York Stock Exchange, and a portion of the premium is invested by the cooperative into the community. The community holds a series of meetings, facilitated by employees of the cooperative, to vote on how this premium will be used. The funded projects benefit the entire community, such as improving roads, schools or public works. The members work collaboratively to implement the project, building bonding social capital by working together for a common cause. This bonding social capital is
National Contexts Matter: Social Capital and Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica important to avoid a patron-client relationship, or clientelism, in which outside entities determine community priorities (Flora et al., 2015). Direct trade can also build bridging social capital. Luetchford (2008) devotes considerable attention to the notion of the Fair Trade premium in the gift ideology and norms of reciprocity associated with it. Nevertheless, in Fair Trade (and other certifications which offer a premium) the gift is from a faceless consumer. Unlike certifications, direct trade gives producers some information about the buyer, at least the geographical location, which allows producers to put a face on the gift-giver. This creates relational embeddedness between the two communities and helps complete the circle of the social exchange (Levi & Pellegrin-Rescia, 1997; Smith, 2007). The balance of bridging and bonding social capital that is supported with direct trade is important for sustainable growth within the cooperative. Increasing Network Connections at the Cooperative Level Certifications also build social capital at the cooperative level in the form of network connections. Cooperatives are forced to expand their networks by making links with other organizations, such as other cooperatives or consortia, NGOs which facilitate the certifications process, or governmental organizations which provide training to members or administrators (Snider et al., Manuscript submitted for publication). Associations with middle-level actors such as NGOs and certification bodies are important for building social capital at an organizational level (Durston, 1998). Conversely, weak vertical connections and a lack of supportive NGOs can undermine the organizational communication and capacity building necessary to benefit from certifications (Pirotte et al., 2006). We observed a training program funded by Starbucks with the goal of building farmer capacity in cooperatives which participate in CAFE Practices certification, specifically in the areas of fertilizer optimization, soil protection, shade tree management and recordkeeping. This program linked actors from four cooperatives (both administrators and members), the environmental NGO Earthwatch and the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE for its Spanish acronym) over a period of two years. Other examples of associations directly related to certifications are alliances
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Chapter 6 with local NGOs to recycle pesticide containers for compliance with Rainforest Alliance certification; a training given in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, the cooperative, the National Coffee Institute (Icafe) and the National Climatological Institute for Rainforest Alliance and Utz-certified members; and an alliance between a cooperative and a local university to provide training related to Rainforest Alliance and CAFE Practices certifications. Reinforcing Norms and Rules to Strengthen Interpersonal Trust When certification standards are strictly-enforced and when free-riding is not possible, they have the potential to build social capital among participants by reinforcing norms, rules and sanctions (Hopfensitz & Miquel-Florensa, 2013). When individuals see that rules are honored and noncompliant behavior is sanctioned, cooperation is fostered (Pretty, 2003). This process of building trust through compliance with norms may need an outsider to enforce compliance in communities where norms of reciprocity are weak or where federal legislation or sanctions are absent (Pappila, 2013). In certifications the role of enforcement is filled by third-party auditors. In Costa Rica, strict governmental regulation means that certifications are not needed for compliance with quality norms. Sanctions imposed by cooperatives for other infractions of certification standards are usually minor. An administrator at Cooperative 4 tells us that in the case of members who do not comply with certification standards, ‘There is no punishment, only feedback.’ Cooperative 3 takes a slightly stronger approach, ‘If a member uses a prohibited pesticide he [or she] cannot sell to the cooperative for the rest of the harvest season.’ Certifications such as Rainforest Alliance and CAFE Practices have strict quality requirements and therefore are not accessible to all producers. These certifications can prompt a sense of pride and community. One Costa Rican cooperative uses its participation in CAFE Practices to build solidarity in the cooperative. A message to producers on the cooperative’s website states ‘The quality of our coffee [produced in this cooperative] fully complies with the high standards of Starbucks,’ (CooproNaranjo, 2013).
National Contexts Matter: Social Capital and Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica Increasing Inclusion Certifications, even if they provide little economic incentive, have the potential to increase women’s empowerment and sense of identity (Bacon, 2010). Countries where female empowerment is higher are more likely to pursue voluntary certifications (van Kooten, Nelson, & Vertinsky, 2005). However, certification alone is not enough to guarantee the participation and empowerment of women (Lyon, 2008; Lyon, Bezaury, & Mutersbaugh, 2010). Based on our results, we suggest that certification programs and cooperative policies should be inclusive to all members of the community to build social capital in a sustainable way. We see a direct link between cooperative policy toward inclusion and the participation of women. The policies of Cooperative 1 do not encourage the participation of women because each household, rather than each member, has a vote in assemblies. The policies reflect the management’s view of the role of women in the cooperative. The former manager at Cooperative 1 expresses his opinion, ‘Fair Trade didn’t change the role of women in the cooperative. Women have their own roles in the household and are busy with the kids. They are not too interested in coffee production.’ Female participation is low in this cooperative: eleven percent of the cooperative’s members are women. However, overall participation rates of women in coffee production are also low in this area of Costa Rica, and women are more likely to work in the fields than own their own farm. Only 6% of farms owned by women and 22% of women involved in labor in the coffee fields (Instituto Nacional de Estadisticas y Censos, 2007). Conversely, Cooperative 3 actively encourages the participation of women and offers a training called Leadership for Women in the Cooperative. This program began in 2006 with the participation of 70 of the cooperative’s 195 female members. Cooperative 3 also encourages the participation of women, particularly at the bi-annual assemblies. The cooperative agronomist explains the decision, ‘The kids make noise and annoy the older members, but if we don’t allow the kids to come, the mothers have to stay home [to take care of them]. We voted a few years ago to [continue to] allow children at the assemblies.’ Thirty percent of the members of Cooperative 3 are women. Female ownership of coffee farms is also higher in this region, however, with 21% of the coffee farms owned 143 | P a g e
Chapter 6 by women and 9% of the female population of the region involved in labor in the coffee fields (Instituto Nacional de Estadisticas y Censos, 2007). Harvested by Women, while still a nascent certification scheme, attempts to build female participation and empowerment in the coffee industry (Camacho Sandoval, 2011; International Trade Centre, 2012). According to an administrator at the Alianza de Mujeres en Café (Women’s Coffee Alliance), they attempt to do this by increasing the human capital and the self-esteem of female coffee producers. Premiums earned from the certification fund capacity-building projects for women. Cooperative 4 participates in Harvested by Women and uses the certification premium for its Women’s Committee, which offers training on empowerment and income-generating projects for women. ‘We try to diminish the macho culture in the cooperative,’ a committee member tells us in an interview. The cooperative has 32% female members, higher than the rate of 21% female farmers in the area. Considering the National Context When Implementing Certification Schemes Despite the potential for cooperatives and certifications to build social capital, this process is not automatic, and several factors must be considered to realize this potential. The success of certification schemes in terms of the production of social capital, improvement of livelihoods and environmental impact are largely dependent on the nation context into which they are adopted (Elder et al., 2013). External interventions without grassroots support compromise cooperative movements (Enzama, 2013). Any social capital built in cooperative or certification movements can be destroyed by regimes that promote distrust, such as corrupt management (Chloupkova, 2003; Elder et al., 2013). When social capital is low, a vicious cycle can arise with the adoption of certifications. A privileged few rather than the entire community benefit from certifications and inequality is exacerbated (Fraser et al., 2013; Getz, 2008; González & Nigh, 2005). We consider the example of Uganda, where membership in farmers’ organizations is inhibited by low levels of interpersonal trust (Snider et al., 2014). Organizations that do exist are dependent on the support of NGOs and there are very few, if any, horizontal connections between groups. Participation 144
National Contexts Matter: Social Capital and Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica in these groups does build social capital, but it often strengthens bonding ties more than bridging ties (Snider et al., 2014). Organizations that are isolated with no connection between the groups do not transfer norms and behavior to other groups. This situation would not build, and could possibly reduce trust (Paxton, 2007). Caution should be taken when introducing certifications into this setting. An effort could be made before the introduction of certifications to create horizontal network connections between groups and develop second-level cooperatives, much like Coocafe in Costa Rica or Union of Cooperatives of Coffee Growers (COCOCA) in Burundi (Vandorpe, 2014), which build social and human capital within small cooperatives with the goal of helping these cooperatives access certifications. Due to state regulation in Costa Rica, certifications are not required for the equitable distribution of profits (Smith, 2007). There is transparency in the distribution of the certification premiums (Snider et al., Submitted for Publication) and transparency builds trust (Rawlins, 2008). We emphasize that building social capital is, at best, a slow process. Even the most optimistic contend that the construction of social capital is measured in years, if not decades (Colletta & Cullen, 2000; Durston, 1998).
Conclusions The levels of social capital in this study show only minor differences between the cooperatives, showing that moderately-high levels of both bridging and bonding social capital are common in coffee cooperatives in Costa Rica. Cooperatives have a strong sense of solidarity, reflecting high levels of bonding social capital. Members are able to benefit from the bridging network connections of the cooperative which helps them access new information and services from other organizations. In cooperatives where bonding social capital dominates, a high emphasis is put on the equality of members. These cooperatives choose to certify all members, regardless of the demand for certified coffee. If any incentive is given for participation in certifications, they are in-kind rather than monetary. In cooperatives where bridging social capital prevails, only select members access
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Chapter 6 certifications. However, in all cases in this study, levels of bonding social capital were high enough to prevent elite members from benefiting at the expense of the rest of the membership. In communities with low levels of bonding social capital, certifications may result in a non-egalitarian distribution of economic incentives. We found a positive correlation between voluntary participation in Rainforest Alliance certification and generalized trust. In this case, no monetary incentives were provided for participating in the program. No correlation was found between voluntary Utz certification and generalized trust when a small monetary incentive was given to certified individuals. Though sample sizes in this portion of the study are small, it presents some interesting information that warrants further investigation to better manage financial incentives for voluntary environmental programs. Inclusion in terms of gender is an important consideration in certification schemes. Efforts and policies to include women vary among the cooperatives and have an effect on women’s participation rates. Follow-up studies should examine if female participation leads to a virtuous cycle of inclusion and strengthening of social capital in the cooperative. Certifications have the potential but not the guarantee of building social capital within a cooperative. The national context into which the certification is being inserted must be considered. We observed positive examples in Costa Rican cooperatives where inequality is low and transparency is high. However other authors have documented cases of certifications destroying social capital in cooperatives in other countries. Because of the disparity in national contexts, we suggest a more regional approach to certification standards in which certification bodies foster and verify a certain level of transparency, democracy and accountability before the certification process begins. Capacity building of cooperative administration is recommended before certifications in cooperatives where human capital is low. Transparency, democracy and accountability within a cooperative are important for certifications to be effective. If these aspects are lacking, certifications may increase inequality and fail to achieve environmental goals. 146
Chapter 7: Synthesis
Abstract This chapter provides a synthesis of Chapters 4-6. I first look at how the national context of Costa Rica, including environmental and social regulation, regulation of the coffee industry, and support to the cooperatives sector, and how this context affects the function of certifications. Data from this study is compared to literature from other countries. Next I look at how the level of social capital in a country may affect the uptake of certifications. The national context also affects the financial and non-financial benefits of certifications. The chapter ends with a discussion of the limits of the study and recommendations for policy and future research.
Abstract Ce chapitre fournit une synthèse des chapitres 4-6. J’analyse d'abord comment le contexte national du Costa Rica affecte les fonctions des certifications, en particulier la réglementation environnementale et sociale, la réglementation du secteur du café, et le soutien au secteur des coopératives. Les données de cette étude sont comparées à des données produites dans d'autres pays. Ensuite, j’analyse comment le niveau de capital social dans un pays peut affecter l’adoption de la certification. Le contexte national influence également les avantages financiers et non-financiers des certifications. Le chapitre se termine par une discussion sur les limites de l'étude et des recommandations concernant les politiques publiques et de futures recherches.
Introduction This thesis was undertaken to better understand how cooperatives manage voluntary coffee certifications and the certifications’ effect on the sustainability of small holder livelihoods. Scientific literature describes discrepancies in the efficacy of certifications but does not fully address the range of certifications available, nor does it adequately analyze the fundamental role of farmers’ organizations in the certification process. In the preceding chapters I attempted to identify some aspects of Costa Rica’s national context which are important in influencing this efficacy, such as the policy environment and regulation of the coffee industry. I also looked at the interaction between this environment, the cooperatives and the other stakeholders’ influence the advisory services which support sustainable agriculture. Finally I looked at the role of social capital in the management of certifications and its effect on equality within the cooperative. I found that overall, certifications in Costa Rica function in a transparent manner and provide modest but real benefits to producers and their cooperatives. This is because of Costa Rica’s context of high regulation and enforcement of environmental and social laws, regulation of the coffee industry and strong support for farmers’ organizations.
The synergy between cooperatives and certifications The view of organizations purely as economically rational actors is of limited use in general (Mintzberg, 1989) and even less applicable to member-owned cooperatives. Cooperatives are companies which must be economically viable, but as member-owned and –controlled entities they are compelled to offer certain benefits to their members and the community (Wennink et al., 2008). This offers an internal driver for cooperatives to adopt certifications (Klerkx, Villalobos, & Engler, 2012). The cooperative values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity
(International Co-operative Alliance, 2015) fit well with those of many certification
schemes, particularly Fair Trade.
The structure of the coffee sector affects the efficacy and management of certifications As outlined in Chapter 3, the structure of Costa Rica’s coffee sector provides a unique political environment to study certifications. The political and social environments combine to affect the social capital of the coffee sector, as described in Chapter 5. Certifications also benefit from the sustainability discourse in Costa Rica, as discussed in Chapter 6. All of these factors combine to create a national context which affects the efficacy and management of certifications (See Figure 11). This helps us understand some of the management decisions made by cooperatives which were discussed in Chapter 4. At least three main characteristics of the coffee sector affect how certifications function in Costa Rica: environmental and social regulation and enforcement, Law 2762 which regulates coffee quality and relations between producers and millers, and a strong cooperative sector with institutional support. The following sections will look at each of these aspects more closely. Environmental and social regulation and enforcement Costa Rica is considered a leader in environmental legislation (Evans, 2010). Its laws also offer considerable social protection (Rosenberg, 1981). Because of the strict enforcement of environmental regulations, farmers and cooperatives are more prepared to comply with the environmental aspects of certifications. At the cooperative level, Costa Rica passed a law requiring clean technology in mills in 1994 (Castro, 2013), which induced cooperatives to begin upgrades to their mills before many of them were certified. Costa Rican law has prohibited the use of lead arsenate on farms since 1990 (Castro, 2013) and lindane and DDT have been outlawed since 1998 (Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería, 1998). These pesticides are also prohibited for all certifications and are not sold at the cooperatives’ supply stores, making the transition into certifications easier. Governmental policy that on one hand promotes certification but on the other promotes dependence on agrochemicals, such as Rwanda’s policy of subsidizing agrochemicals, can undermine the impact of certifications (Elder et al., 2013). Costa Rica’s environmental policy does offer some mixed messages, however. In 2014, in the effort to combat an outbreak of coffee rust 150
Synthesis (Hemileia vastatrix), coffee cooperatives reported that Costa Rica’s Ministry of Agriculture distributed free fungicides to farmers. While these fungicides complied with certification standards (except for those of organic agriculture), and this was considered an emergency measure (unlike Rwanda’s permanent subsidy policy) this policy does not provide any incentive to explore cultural measures of disease prevention. The enforcement of Costa Rica’s legislation not only facilitates the adoption of standards, but contributes to the discourse of sustainability of which certifications are a part. Public awareness in Costa Rica about environmental issues such as deforestation, climate change and biodiversity is quite high, thanks the discourse on these topics on the academic, institutional, professional and mass media levels (J.-F. Le Coq, Froger, Pesche, Legrand, & Saenz, 2015). The institutional environment in Costa Rica is quite active in the sustainability discourse (Nygren, 1998), and environmental NGOs play an important role in education and governance of environmental issues (Tahkokallio & Nygren, 2008). This sustainability discourse is apparent in Costa Rica, as one is constantly confronted with publicity from various sources which remind the public to plant trees, protect the water, etc. Farmers in the focus group discussions and interviews displayed an understanding of the environmental implications of farming practices. For example, when participants of a focus group were asked about the benefits of planting shade trees in the coffee fields they listed maintaining soil fertility, erosion control, wildlife habitat and carbon sequestration. Farmers also stated that they received information on farming practices from multiple sources including MAG, Icafe and INA.
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Figure 11 : Effect of Costa Rica's National Context on Efficacy of Certifications
Synthesis The regulation and enforcement of social laws also reduce farm level changes with certification. Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance and CAFE Practices certifications require that producers pay the staterequired minimum wage to field workers. The minimum wage is generally respected in Costa Rica, so little change was seen when certifications were employed. The former manager at one of the Coocafe-founding cooperatives says ‘The wages of the workers did not increase [with Fair Trade] because they were already earning the minimum wage.’ This contrasts with a study of Uganda that found that wage laborers for Fair Trade certified organizations had lower wages than those for nonFair Trade certified organizations (Cramer et al., 2014) One could argue that Fair Trade certification is not intended for upper-middle-income (as defined by World Bank (2016)) countries like Costa Rica in which the state provides considerable oversight in environmental and social issues and the concrete changes prompted by certification are small. This would be overlooking the considerable progress that Fair Trade certification has induced in Costa Rica since the late 1980s, particularly in the small cooperatives in Guanacaste and Coto Brus (Luetchford, 2008). The different realities of cooperatives in the Valleys versus the cooperatives in Guanacaste and Coto Brus due to human resources and human capital were apparent from the interviews. The larger cooperatives in the Valleys have a larger staff and manage their own sales and exportation. The managers often have advanced degrees in business. The smaller cooperatives rely heavily on Coocafe for management of contracts and were sometimes unclear about the terms of the contracts, calling on managers at Coocafe when clarification was needed. Because of the small size of the cooperatives, the cooperative agronomist may also serve as manager. Fair Trade continues to provide funds for services needed by the Guanacaste and Coto Brus cooperatives. On the other hand, two of the cooperatives in the Valleys and Tarrazú have transitioned out of Fair Trade to focus more on CAFE Practices and Rainforest Alliance. Some cooperatives acknowledge that participation in Fair Trade is not beneficial to them. A manager for a Type 4 cooperative told me ‘We comply with much more than Fair Trade asks for, but the costs are too high compared to the sales.’ This cooperative participates heavily in CAFE Practices and 153 | P a g e
Chapter 7 Rainforest Alliance as well as the direct sale of estate coffee, so the benefits of Fair Trade are less interesting. This suggests
that as capacity is developed within cooperatives, the cooperatives may
move on to other certifications which are available to them (depending on their coffee quality, flavor profile, etc.), possibly discontinuing Fair Trade certification if market demand for the certification is low. In this way, cooperatives in other countries could move into Fair Trade certification to fill this void in supply. Law 2762: regulating coffee quality and relations between producers and millers The second aspect of Costa Rica’s coffee sector that facilitates access to certification is Law 2762 and its predecessors. This law and its addendums strictly regulate the quality of coffee delivered to mills. The law prohibits the production of robusta varieties of coffee and certain cultivars of arabica which are considered as a threat to Costa Rica’s reputation as a producer of high quality coffee. The amount of green, or unripe, coffee cherries is limited to 2%. The law also dictates that all coffee must be processed by a certified mill within 24 hours of harvest (Icafe, 1961). This enforcement prepares cooperatives for the standards of certification and offers an external coercive driver to implement best management practices (Klerkx et al., 2012). This can be contrasted with other coffee value chains, such as that of Tanzania. Smallholder farmers in Tanzania are responsible for pulping, washing, drying and sorting of coffee cherries after harvest. Variations in this stage of processing strongly affect the quality of coffee and are responsible for a decline in the quality of Tanzanian coffee (Parrish, Luzadis, & Bentley, 2005). In the case of Tanzanian coffee, access to Fair Trade markets required an upgrade in coffee quality. The same was found in Nicaragua, where there is less governmental intervention in quality controls (Pirotte et al., 2006; Valkila & Nygren, 2010). In Costa Rica, all export-quality coffee meets Fair Trade standards. In fact, many of the small Fair Trade cooperatives do not have the capacity to separate the harvest based on quality, so the entire harvest is of uniform quality, whether it is for Fair Trade or conventional markets. Cooperatives with Utz certification also stated that there was no quality upgrade needed to access certification. Two of the farmers interviewed said that they needed to upgrade their harvesting practices for Rainforest 154
Synthesis Alliance certification. They said that only 100% ripe coffee is accepted for this certification so they must pay harvesters a higher wage because the harvesting process is slower. One cooperative stated that CAFE Practices certification compelled them to more strictly enforce the Icafe regulation that mills cannot accept a delivery that contains more that 2% unripe beans. Overall, upgrades to the quality of the harvest were minor compared to those described in the literature from other countries (Parrish et al., 2005; Valkila & Nygren, 2010). Law 2862 also ensures an equitable distribution of profits which support small and medium-holder farmers. The distribution of the profits is transparent and the profit retained by mills is limited to 9% for the FOB price (Icafe, 1961). We can compare this to the Kenyan coffee sector, which is also dominated by small farmers organized in cooperatives (Sibelet & Montzieux, 2012). However, the supply chain is much longer in Kenya and rife with corruption (Mureithi, 2008; Sibelet & Montzieux, 2012). In Kenya small holders sell either to the informal market, or to a cooperative. The harvest is then sold to a miller, who sells to a marketing agent who sells the harvest at the auction where it is sold to an exporter. Each level of the supply chain demands a share of the profit. The result is that the small holder in Kenya receives only 58% of the free on board sale price (Mureithi, 2008). This dilutes the financial incentives that farmers or cooperatives may receive for certifications because presumably each level of the supply chain would take a cut of any price premium as they do of the base price. In Costa Rica Icafe monitors all contracts. A manager of a small Type 2 cooperative says ‘We could not make a contract that was below the NYSE price. Icafe would not accept the contract.’ Strong Cooperative Sector and Institutional Support The third factor that influences certifications is the considerable support that state and nongovernmental organizations offer to cooperatives and other farmers’ organizations which support small and medium-holder farmers. We can compare this with Tanzania. While there is organizational support for the Tanzanian coffee industry, it does not adequately provide access to certifications (Lazaro et al., 2008). There is some support from NGOs such as Solidaridad, but support seems limited to technical training of farmers and overlooks human capital development in the 155 | P a g e
Chapter 7 cooperatives (Verkaart, 2009). For this reason, Utz certification in Tanzania is mainly found on large estates (Lazaro et al., 2008) and small holder cooperatives have problems with attrition of farmers from the program (Verkaart, 2009). This seems to be due to a lack of capital, particularly human and financial (Lazaro et al., 2008). In Costa Rica, cooperatives and supporting NGOs and state organizations (such as INA, Icafe, CATIE and Earthwatch working through the cooperatives) fill this gap by providing capacity-building in cooperative staff and in members. When Fair Trade certification was first considered in Costa Rica, it was found that human capital was lacking in the cooperatives targeted for certification (small cooperatives in Guanacaste). The Agro-Economic Consultancy (CAE), in cooperation with a German NGO, began by building capacity in the cooperative staff which was essential in the formation of the Coocafe consortium (Luetchford, 2008). Coocafe continues to provide a myriad of services which build capacity in cooperative staff and members. ‘I just attended training at Coocafe. We learned how to complete the [Fair Trade] paperwork and upload our documents using Dropbox,’ a Type 1 cooperative employee explained. Coocafe staff also offer mockaudits for cooperatives and cooperative members to help them prepare for FLO audits. Coocafe secures and manages contracts for the majority of the member cooperatives (two Type 2 cooperatives which produce high quality coffee secure all or a portion of their own contracts which are then passed to Coocafe for export services). Consortia facilitate access to certifications in other countries as well. The Consortium des Coopératives des Caféculteurs (Cococa) in Burundi (Vandorpe, 2014) and PRODECOOP in Nicaragua (Ruben & Zuñiga, 2011) have been helpful in facilitating access to Fair Trade and, in some cases organic certification. An (unnamed) consortium of cooperatives in Guatemala gives member cooperative access to Utz certification (Renard, 2005). Support for cooperatives is not limited to consortium and NGO support. Governmental organizations such as Infocoop provide financing to cooperatives in need of credit. The manager of one struggling Type 1 cooperative says ‘We exist by the grace of Coocafe and Infocoop. They do not like to see member cooperatives fail.’
Social Capital in Costa Rica The study of social capital is very relevant to farmers’ organizations and voluntary certification. Organizations which adhere to a set of norms can reduce the costs of monitoring and sanctioning members who exploit natural resources (Ostrom, 1990). Monitoring costs can be significant in certification, and non-compliant members raise the costs by necessitating re-auditing. Distrust can inhibit farmers’ participation in
organizations and can limit the organizations’
effectiveness in distributing profits and promoting sustainable practices (Snider et al., 2014)1. Distrust can also affect the equity of supply chain contracts (Sartorius & Kirsten, 2007). Putnam’s proxy uses participation in voluntary organizations as a proxy for social capital (Putnam et al., 1994). Based on Putnam’s proxy and the active participation in cooperatives and other producers’ organizations, we would expect to find high levels of bridging social capital in Costa Rica. However, Costa Rica has some of the lowest levels of generalized trust in Latin America. On average over the past 20 years, only 10.5% of Costa Ricans responded that, in general one can trust most people (See Table 19). This is below the Latin American average of 17% (NB: Table 19 does not include all Latin American countries, therefore the average is different). Only Brazil has a lower proportion of trust (7.4%) (Latinobarómetro, 2015a). About 20% of the respondents in the social capital survey detailed in Chapter 6 responded that, in general, one can trust others. However, unlike the Latino Barometer data, this was not a cross-section of the population. All respondents were from rural areas, which in Costa Rica have higher levels of generalized trust (Collado, 2007). All respondents are also participants in at least one voluntary organization (the cooperative) which, in itself is an indicator of bridging social capital (Putnam et al., 1994). I attribute this discrepancy (high participation in voluntary organizations yet low levels of interpersonal trust) to Costa Rica’s political environment of strong regulation and enforcement of laws described above. Legal enforcement compensates for low levels of interpersonal trust (Frey & Jegen, 1999). Interpersonal trust is replaced by institutional trust when people trust others to comply
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Table 19 Interpersonal trust in Latin American coffee-producing countries. Source (Latinobarómetro, 2015b).
Country of Study Total
One can trust the majority of people
One cannot be too careful when dealing with others
Table 20 Trust in judicial power in Latin American coffee-producing countries. Source (Latinobarómetro, 2015b).
Country of Study How much confidence do you have in judicial power? A lot
Not at all
because of strict enforcement rather than because they are personally compelled to uphold the norms of society. Indeed, Costa Rica ranks above average (43.5% confidence [ a lot plus somewhat] in Costa Rica versus the Latin American average of 27.2% confidence) in confidence in judicial power (Latinobarómetro, 2015b) (Table 20). Unfortunately Afrobarometer does not collect the same data as Latino Barometer, so we cannot directly compare Latin America and Africa on these dimensions. However, generalized trust is generally considered to be low in Africa (Nunn & Wantchekon, 2011). The density of farmers’ organizations in Uganda also seems to contradict Putnam’s proxy. In this case, however, it seems to be from the external support of funding organizations which make participation rates artificially high (Snider et al., 2014). External support does not make up for the lack of trust in Uganda, as governmental regulation compensates for lack of trust in Costa Rica, and the institutions remain weak. Uganda’s cooperative sector largely succumbed to political interference and mismanagement in the 1980s (Bigirwa, 2005). Kenya’s cooperative sector is also rife with corruption and mismanagement (Sibelet & Montzieux, 2012) and corruption and distrust in the cooperative sector has been documented in Rwanda (Elder et al., 2012) and Tanzania (Bibby, 2006). Environmental problems such as deforestation are exacerbated by weak institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa (Bhattarai & Hammig, 2001). Certifications would seem to be a good strategy to promote natural resource management, since they can act as a form of governance when state enforcement of laws or when the laws themselves are weak (Auld, 2010). Nevertheless there has been slow uptake of certifications in Africa. In 2010, 82% of Fair Tradecertified organizations were located in Latin America, compared to only 12% in Africa (Auld, 2010). In Africa, only Ethiopia has managed to capture a significant share of the certified organic coffee market (Potts et al., 2014). Tanzania is the only African country that produces a significant amount of Fair Trade compliant coffee (43% of national production) (Potts et al., 2014). Normal rules of incentives on which certifications are based do not apply in fragile or corrupt states (Karsenty & Ongolo, 2012).
Chapter 7 Organizational and management issues are obstacles to certification (Luetchford, 2008; Vandorpe, 2014). When social capital is low, cooperatives have difficulty managing certifications and trust can be further destroyed, causing a vicious cycle of lost social capital (Fraser et al., 2013; Getz, 2008; González & Nigh, 2005). The national context of Costa Rica, though not without its problems of corruption and mistrust, provides an environment conducive to certifications. The benefits that cooperatives realize from certifications are both financial and non-financial. The two types are discussed below.
Financial benefits of certification Certification premiums are variable and poorly incentivize farmers Cooperatives list various reasons to pursue certifications, including complying with the request of an important buyer or entering new markets (See Chapter 4). Financial motivations are the most important consideration, particularly for Fair Trade certification. Nevertheless, researchers have criticized certifications as financially unviable due to low demand (Sick, 2008) because standardcompliant coffee must be sold as conventional. It is true that the supply of standard-compliant coffee far outweighs the demand. Globally 25% of certification-compliant production is sold as certified coffee (Potts et al., 2014). Costa Rican coffee cooperatives do a better-than-average job of matching certified production to certified sales by focusing on more selective certifications like CAFE Practices and Rainforest Alliance. A large part of the oversupply on the global level is due to the oversupply of 4C certified coffee, due to its low barriers to entry. When 4C certification is excluded from global averages, the proportion of production to sales becomes 56%, closer to Costa Rica’s proportion of 53% for Utz, 55% for CAFE Practices and 58% for Rainforest Alliance. Many have criticized Fair Trade for not having a significant impact on household earnings (Beuchelt & Zeller, 2011; Johannessen & Wilhite, 2010; van Rijsbergen, Elbers, Ruben, & Njuguna, 2016). On the other hand, some criticize cooperatives for retaining the Fair Trade social premium, claiming that supporting cooperatives does not reduce farmer poverty (Haight, 2011). We can see from the example below why cooperatives may choose to do this. As Weber (2011) points out, ‘small or zero 160
Synthesis net premiums do not necessarily imply that certification programs are unimportant to coffee growing households, communities or consumers.’ The financial incentives for voluntary coffee certifications are weak and variable. However, even though market demand is low and management costs are high, in times of low world price of coffee, cooperatives are often able to earn a significant amount from Fair Trade, organic and Utz certifications. When the world price of coffee is high, this premium may disappear. Even though the financial benefit at both the cooperative and farm level may be absent in years when the world price of coffee is high, cooperatives find that the certification provides a buffer against the lows of a volatile market. The former manager of a Coocafe founding-member cooperative explains ‘Fair Trade gave us the possibility to survive when the price of coffee was low.’ This protection from market lows lends some financial stability to coffee farming. It is true, however, that even when there is a certification premium, the effect on household incomes is often negligible, particularly in a middle-income country like Costa Rica. To understand the differential impact of certification premium on cooperative and household income we can look first at the example of Fair Trade. This illustrates why cooperatives choose different strategies to distribute the premiums. We can revisit in more detail the discussion presented in Chapter 4 and consider the case of a large Type 3 cooperative in Coto Brus and a small Type 2 cooperative in Tarrazú. Both cooperatives sold approximately the same volume of coffee with Fair Trade certification in 2012/2013, but used different strategies to distribute the premium. In 2013 the Coto Brus cooperative paid approximately $4140 in Fair Trade certification fees, but was able to sell only 8% of its total harvest to Fair Trade markets. However, this was still a profitable venture for the cooperative, since the $20/quintal social premium alone totaled $232,000 (Since 2013 was a year of low coffee prices, the cooperative likely also benefited from the Fair Trade minimum price, but this would vary by the terms of each contract). Had this premium been divided equally among all members, each member would receive a payment of less than $40. For this reason, 161 | P a g e
Chapter 7 the cooperative members voted to use the premium to fund a reforestation program. Members received free shade tree seedlings to plant on their farms. The goals of the reforestation program were to reduce erosion, protect soil fertility and increase coffee bean quality. In this way the premium has the potential to make a community-level impact rather than a farm-level impact. On the other hand, we can consider the example of a small Type 2 cooperative in Tarrazú. The cooperative pays $1/quintal of coffee exported in fees to Coocafe to be included in their Fair Trade certification. However, the cooperative receives $20/quintal for the Fair Trade premium. In 2013 the cooperative sold 60% of its harvest (11,580 quintals) in Fair Trade contracts. This amounts to $231,600 in premiums and $11,580 in fees. The cooperative passes 75% of the premium on to the members in the form of a direct payment, which amounts to an average of approximately $270/member (the payment is pro-rated by the amount of coffee the member sells to the cooperative). As stated in Chapter 4, the average rural income in Costa Rica is $862/month (Censos, 2012), so a $270 payment for the year is not significant. This confirms the criticism of low impact on household income. However Leon Cortez, the canton where this cooperative is located, is one of the poorest in the country, and the cooperative feels it has an obligation to the members to increase the profitability of coffee farming. As the agronomist said in an interview, ‘as a business we think it is important that this money goes directly to the producer.’ The members also benefit from the 25% of the premium that is retained by the cooperative. This portion of the premium is used for educational programs to improve production practices and coffee quality. Fair Trade certification is an extreme example, because 100% of the cooperative’s members must be certified and the premium must be distributed in an equitable way. Other certifications do not have this rule and, therefore, widespread farm-level impacts are possible (though not guaranteed). Globally, only 26% of Utz-compliant coffee is sold as such (Potts et al., 2014). We can look at the example of a large Type 4 cooperative with Utz certification. In the 2012/2013 harvest the cooperative sold 3210 quintals with Utz certification and the cooperative reports a premium of 5 cents/pound ($5/quintal). This amounts to a total premium of $16,050 which easily covers the 162
Synthesis auditing costs of $3,332 that the cooperative paid that year for Utz certification. If this premium, after auditing costs are subtracted, was divided among the 2100 members of the cooperative, each member would receive an average of approximately $6.00. If other related costs of additional training, site visits and support were deducted, the per-member distribution would be nearly zero (although members would still benefit from the additional services related to certification and the enhanced management practices required by Utz certification). This cooperative chooses an entrepreneurial approach, certifying only 15 of its members’ farms. Most of these farms are large and the members have already demonstrated good management practices and a loyalty to the cooperative. The cooperative chooses to pass the 5 cents/pound premium directly to the certified members (without deducting auditing costs) to reward good management practices and offset the upgrades that were needed to comply with certification. These 15 certified farmers receive an average of $1070 in premiums for their harvest. The cooperative has found that this amount encourages farmers to become certified. The following year, when the NYSE price was higher and the Utz premium was lower, the cooperative did not sell any coffee with Utz certification and the certified members did not receive a premium. A small Type 2 cooperative acknowledges that individual certifications could generate benefits for certain farmers, but this goes against its cooperative philosophy. ‘The message we want to send to our members is that everyone is equal,’ says the cooperative agronomist. This cooperative chooses to manage its CAFÉ Practices certification collectively and distribute profits to all members. The cooperative sold 30% of the harvest, or 5790 quintals with CAFÉ Practices certification in 2012/2013 and paid $4000 in auditing costs. The cooperative states that there was no premium for CAFÉ Practices that year, classifying the $30/quintal that they received over they NYSE price as a quality premium. Any profits earned are returned to all members equally in the final sale price of coffee.
Non-financial benefits of certifications Existing literature has criticized certifications for small effects on the sustainability of farming practices (Allen Blackman & Rivera, 2010). However, the structure of the certified coffee industry, 163 | P a g e
Chapter 7 including low market demand for certified product, weak and variable pricing incentives and high auditing and management costs incentivized cooperatives to certify only a portion of their most compliant members. This may include farmers who already comply with the majority of certification standards or those with the largest farms. The result is that certifications are mostly used to reward progressive farmers rather than engendering widespread improvements in the sustainability of farming practices. However, there are more indirect benefits to certification. Promoting a holistic approach to coffee production As demonstrated in Chapter 5, certifications incite cooperatives to develop a more holistic approach to small-holder coffee farming. They do this indirectly by influencing the advisory services that cooperatives provide to their members. Before certifications, cooperative advisory services were dependent on the training and knowledge of one or more agronomists employed by the cooperative. Certification standards require that members receive training (Ruben & Zuñiga, 2011) on subjects that may be outside the expertise of the agronomists, such as training on adaptation to climate change, integrated pest management or employer-labor relations. This requirement obliges cooperatives to form or renegotiate relationships with outside organizations to acquire access to new knowledge and techniques (Alvarez et al., 2010; Bitzer et al., 2008). These new services and knowledge add to the existing discourse about sustainability in the cooperative and in the community. This discourse is also influenced by governmental regulation of the coffee industry and other stakeholders in the community as discussed above. The holistic approach to coffee production better supports sustainable agriculture than the previous approach of focusing on inputs and outputs. It encourages producers to consider allowing a certain threshold of pests on their crop and encourages soil management for the long-term fertility of soils. Shade trees, while they may lower short-term productivity, protect soils and improve bean quality (Vaast et al., 2006). These changes in perceptions about farming practices take time and are not easily quantified, particularly in the short term.
Synthesis Increased human and social capital To provide a more holistic approach to coffee production, an increase in human capital was needed. All case-study cooperatives stated that both group and individual advisory services increased with certification. Cooperative administrators receive business and technical training from NGOs, consortia and governmental agencies and members receive technical training from cooperative staff and other stakeholders. The result is a more efficiently-run cooperative which builds trust in the administration and greater farmer knowledge about sustainable production practices. This increase in interaction between cooperative administration and members increases social capital. Members interact with other members at cooperative training events, lectures and field days and strengthen bonding social capital. They also interact more regularly with cooperative administration, building trust which facilitates employing new agricultural practices (Klerkx & Proctor, 2013). Balancing financial incentives with member equality I found that individual certifications may increase the inequality within a cooperative. Cooperatives focus limited resources, such as farm visits and plant material, on certified farmers. This creates a difficult situation for the cooperative, as it contradicts the principles of cooperative organizations in which all members have an equal stake in the organization. Previous research warns that high levels of inequality and exclusion can destroy a cooperative (Fraser et al., 2013; González & Nigh, 2005). However, making changes to agricultural practices to comply with certification may present significant costs to producers (for example building a pesticide storage shed, increased labor costs for manual weeding and integrated pest management, purchase and labor costs for using compost), and producers often require at least a portion of these costs to be covered by a higher sale price. Some Costa Rican cooperatives address this conundrum by focusing services on certified farmers but distributing financial benefits to both certified and uncertified farmers. This dilutes incentives for individually-certified farmers but maintains harmony within the cooperative.
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Chapter 7 Cooperatives with a high sense of solidarity (high bonding social capital) may completely reject individual certifications. They feel that equality among the members is of the highest importance and may make management decisions that, to the outsider, appear to be counter-productive to the financial profitability of the cooperative, just to maintain this equality. If this sense of solidarity is not shared by the membership, these policies may result in members leaving the cooperative or sideselling to private mills to receive a higher price for specialty coffee. As demonstrated in Chapter 6, the level of social capital of the organization as a strong effect on the policies of the cooperative which in turn affect the social capital of the membership. There is extensive literature on the social capital of groups and communities, less on the social capital of organizations (Cohen & Prusak, 2001) but the interaction between social capital at the two levels is virtually unstudied. The leadership in an organization is vital to consider because the strategies and policies a leader employs shape the character and the social structure of an organization (Mintzberg, 2009) which can build or destroy social capital.
Balancing extrinsic and intrinsic motivations Considering that financial incentives are weak and variable while certification costs are high, one might wonder why cooperatives and individuals pursue certifications. In Chapter 6 we see that individuals with high social capital (as measured by generalized trust) are more likely to pursue a certification, in this case Rainforest Alliance, for environmental motivations, even if no financial incentive is provided. Generalized trust reflects ‘belief in the benevolence of human nature,’ (Yamagishi & Yamagishi, 1994). In the case of certifications, this benevolence is manifested in the protection of soil, wildlife habitats, and water resources. People with high levels of generalized trust are willing to voluntarily comply with standards because they believe that others will do so as well. These individuals have intrinsic motivations to certify, and have internalized the social norms of certification (Flora et al., 2015). This is demonstrated by a small-holder farmer converting to Rainforest Alliance certification who explains ‘[The certification] is not for me but for the birds and the animals that live in the coffee field.’ 166
Synthesis There is also evidence of internalization of the norms of certification at the cooperative level. I observed a difference in the compliance of the different cooperatives with Fair Trade certification. In comparing Cooperative 3 (from Chapter 4), a small Guanacaste cooperative and Cooperative 19 (also from Chapter 4), a large Tarrazú cooperative, we can see differences in the efforts made to improve the sustainability of the cooperative mill. While both cooperatives comply with the standard, Cooperative 19 has gone beyond the requirements by developing a sustainability program which includes efforts to use only renewable energy, including solar. A manager says ‘We have a commitment to sustainable production, to protect the environment, to satisfy the expectations of the clients and improve the quality of life of their members and the community in general.’ This displays responsible leadership which is both an indicator of high social capital in the administration and a means to build social capital within the organization (Maak, 2007). Cooperative 19 appears to be a more mature group in the transformation of its social and human capital as described by Pretty and Ward (2001). The cooperative has reached Stage Two in Pretty’s transformation of capital in which organizations develop their own rules and norms. Cooperative 3 seems to still be in Stage 1 in the development of its social and human capital. At this stage organizations simply react to the requirements imposed by external agencies (Pretty & Ward, 2001). The manager from Cooperative 3 never mentions sustainability in the interviews. These two cooperatives are, of course, very different and many of the differences come from the size of the cooperatives and the different economic reality for the two due to the demand for the quality of the coffee produced and the cooperatives’ financial capital.
However, there seems to also be a
difference in the intrinsic motivations for certifying. While the manager at Cooperative 19 emphasizes that certifications are a means to achieve the cooperative’s sustainability goals, the manager at Cooperative 3 does not seem to see this value. When asked about non-financial benefits of certification, he was unable to mention any. When pressed further he admitted, ‘Perhaps the members are better at keeping records.’ However, he did not see certifications as a vehicle to induce greater changes. This may account for some of the discrepancies between studies which have found 167 | P a g e
Chapter 7 that certifications induce large changes at the cooperative level (Ronchi, 2002) and those which have found little change (van Rijsbergen et al., 2016). This presents interesting questions for future research about how best to manage certifications, both in situations where social capital is low and in situations where it is high. While there seems to be a link between intrinsic motivations for voluntary activities (Degli Antoni, 2009), research has not fully explored this link. Economic theory, which does not consider intrinsic motivations for undertaking an activity such as voluntary certification, would suggest that economic incentives are not needed if the supply of certified coffee (the number of farmers volunteering for certification) meets the cooperative’s demand (the amount of certified coffee the cooperative has contracts for) (Frey & Jegen, 1999). Sociological theory, however, which considers an individual’s intrinsic motivations for undertaking an activity, such as the belief that something is the ‘right thing to do,’ suggests that the payment of a premium for voluntary certification would reward intrinsic motivations and improve performance (Flora et al., 2015; Frey & Jegen, 1999). Nevertheless, there is a lack of research on the effect of certification premiums on the construction of social capital. Before making recommendations about how to incentivize individuals to pursue certifications we need to better understand if paid participation in certification schemes inhibits or increases the production of social capital. In areas of low social capital, paid participation may be the only option for cooperatives who wish to encourage compliance with certification standards. However, the premiums for certification rarely cover the farm-level changes needed to comply with standards. A combination of financial incentives and intrinsic motivations (high social capital) may result in the most sustainable changes at the farm level.
Limits of the study While every effort was made to accurately portray the situation in Costa Rican coffee cooperatives, there are limits to the study. The first limit is that of national context. This thesis was undertaken to study the context of certifications in Costa Rica in order to apply that information to the situation in other countries. However, with the exception of a short field project in Uganda1, primary data was 168
Synthesis only collected in Costa Rica. I have made an attempt to use secondary data from the literature to compare the situation in Costa Rica to that of other countries. While the conclusions drawn from this study are only applicable to Costa Rica, I hope that policy recommendations drawn from this study can help improve the efficacy of certification in other countries. The second limitation is equilibrium between qualitative and quantitative data. This is in part due to the lack of available records in the cooperative, for example training records. For this reason I had to rely heavily on qualitative data from interviews. In no cases were training records available from before certification. While the availability of training records improved with certification, one cooperative was only able (or perhaps only willing) to give me the training records for the current year. I compensated for this by triangulating changes in advisory services with members, agronomists and managers. I have no doubt that advisory services are more intensive and diverse because of certifications – there is unanimous and unsolicited confirmation of this from every administrator interviewed. Unfortunately the changes in intensity and scope are impossible to quantify. The time limits were a constraint for collecting quantitative data from the social capital surveys. The number of surveys that I felt was realistic to complete in the available time was divided in proportion to the number members in each cooperative. The result was that I could survey fewer than 2% of the members of the cooperatives. The logistics of efficiently finding members to interview in the more geographically disperse cooperatives resulted in my surveying fewer members than originally anticipated. However, the consistency of the results of the surveys gives confidence that more surveys would not have significantly changed the results. In fact, the two cooperatives in Los Santos have the same elliptical regression, suggesting consistency in the cooperatives which overlap geographically and only small differences with other more distant cooperatives. One month was scheduled to live in and collect data in each case study cooperative. While this proved sufficient for the smaller cooperatives, it was a limitation for the large cooperatives. The large cooperatives offer more programs and services and the management is less centralized, requiring 169 | P a g e
Chapter 7 interviews with multiple agronomists and managers. However, these managers and agronomists respond quickly to emails and phone calls, and when information was missing or needed clarification is was available. A final limitation is that the majority of the data was collected at the cooperative level. The focus of the study is the role of farmers’ organizations in the management of voluntary certifications, and so this study relies heavily on interviews with cooperative administrators. However, the analysis would have benefitted from more data regarding changes and perceptions at the farm level. Collecting this data is time-consuming and as with all interviews that rely on participants recalling past events, participants may have difficulty remembering when they changed farming practices. I attempted to minimize this limitation by linking changes in farming practices with locally relevant events (the hiring of the current cooperative agronomist, the certification of their farm, etc.). Also, farm-level data was only collected in interview form. It did not include visits to the farm to assess the farming practices.
Recommendations I recommend that public policy focus on strengthening farmers’ organizations. Farmers’ organizations benefit from higher levels of human capital including training in management, internal control and professionalism. We can see the effect that consortia have had on helping cooperatives access certifications by building capacity in cooperatives’ staff members. Certifications can place a considerable strain on the resources of small cooperatives. Additional support should be considered for farmers’ organizations, particularly in areas where NGOs and other supporting stakeholders are not abundant. In addition to capacity building among staff, this support could be in the form of advisory services which promote sustainable practices to farmers or provision of materials such as shade trees or disease-resistant plant material. While certifications may compensate for situations in which governance is weak, they are most effective when they are complemented by well-enforced environmental and social policy. Wellenforced environmental and social laws not only facilitate access to certifications, the enforcement
Synthesis may compensate for low levels of interpersonal trust within a country, which enhances the function of certifications. Because the unique policy and social environment of a country can affect the function of certifications, certification bodies should take a more regional approach to the design and implementation of certifications. In areas where environmental and social regulation or enforcement of these regulations is weak, special care must be taken. This may include extra support to farmers’ organizations who wish to pursue certification or collaboration with NGOs or other organizations to upgrade compliance. Fairtrade International considers producers’ access to support before adding countries to their list of accepted producers. Therefore, in countries with limited access to support, other certifying organizations may consider Fair Trade as a prerequisite to further certification. Certifications should only be employed in farmers’ organizations with adequate levels of organizational social capital. Certifications may augment inequality and distrust if they are not properly managed. If social capital is lacking within the organization, efforts should be made to increase social capital before the implementation of certifications. This may include addressing issues of corruption or exclusion of certain social or ethnic groups. The social capital of the organization has a stronger effect on the efficacy and inclusiveness of certifications than does the social capital of the membership. A well-managed and transparent certification scheme can build social capital within the membership. I recommend that future research regarding the impact of certifications focuses more on farmers’ organizations. Some previous studies have concluded that farmers do not benefit financially from certification. I have shown that, while there may be a premium associated with certified coffee, if divided among all of the members of the cooperative, the premium may be insignificant, particularly in medium-income countries such as Costa Rica. Premiums distributed only to individually-certified members may promote inequality in the cooperative. Therefore, future research should explore
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Chapter 7 more deeply how the financial and non-financial benefits of certifications strengthen farmers’ organizations and indirectly benefit farmers. I also feel that the roles that social capital, particularly interpersonal trust, plays in an individual’s decision to pursue certification deserves further study. I have found preliminary evidence that people with higher levels of interpersonal trust are more likely to voluntarily pursue Rainforest Alliance certification when no financial incentive is offered. However, no link was found between interpersonal trust and Utz certification. Further research is needed to determine if this is because of the difference in focus of the two certifications (environmental and social focus of Rainforest Alliance versus the management and traceability focus of Utz) or because of the financial incentive provided. Determining the role of social capital in this decision would be useful in designing incentive policies for certifications. Cooperatives may also find that building social capital within the cooperative is complimentary to their certification program. __________________________________________________________________________________ 1
This conference communication (Snider 2014) is a result of the author’s participation in the AgTraIn/ARI (Agriculture and Rural Innovation) field methods class in Nnindye, Uganda. It was presented as a poster at the 2014 Tropentag Conference in Prague, Czech Republic. It is included as Appendix F.
Chapter 8: Conclusions
Abstract This thesis was undertaken to answer the question What is the role of Costa Rican cooperatives in the management of voluntary coffee certifications? It has demonstrated that cooperatives play an important role by facilitating small farmer access to certifications, acting as an intermediary between other stakeholders to provide more intensive advisory services to members and make important decisions regarding how to balance the financial incentives for certification with the solidarity within the cooperative. It next examined how certifications change advisory services in the cooperative. It was demonstrated that certifications oblige cooperatives to diversify and intensify advisory services. They do this by engaging other stakeholders to provide services. In some cases these are new collaborations and in other cases cooperatives are forced to reconfigure existing collaborations with stakeholders. These new advisory services influence farming practices and farmers’ paradigms about sustainable practices. In order to better understand how the benefits of certification can be realized in other regions, I asked What role does social capital play in the management of certifications? Social capital was found to have an effect on the distribution of incentives for certification and the cooperatives’ decisions about collective or individual certifications. The social capital of individuals also plays a role in their acceptance of voluntary environmental certifications. If well-managed, certifications have the potential to create a virtuous cycle of building social capital within a cooperative.
Abstract Cette thèse vise à répondre à la question Quel est le rôle des coopératives au Costa Rica dans la gestion de la certification volontaire du café? Elle a démontré que les coopératives jouent un rôle important, en facilitant l'accès à la certification pour les petits producteurs. Les coopératives jouent aussi un rôle d'intermédiaire entre les autres parties prenantes, fournissent des services consultatifs plus intensifs à leurs membres et prennent des décisions importantes quant à la façon d'équilibrer les motivations économiques à la certification, tout en conservant une dimension de solidarité. 174
Conclusions Cette thèse a ensuite examiné comment les certifications changent les services consultatifs au sein de la coopérative. Il a été démontré que les certifications obligent les coopératives à diversifier et intensifier leurs services consultatifs. Elles le font en impliquant d'autres parties prenantes. Dans certains cas, ce sont de nouvelles collaborations qui sont mises en place. Dans d'autres cas, les coopératives sont obligées de reconfigurer les collaborations existantes. Ces nouveaux services consultatifs influencent les pratiques agricoles et la compréhension des agriculteurs du paradigme des pratiques durables. Afin de mieux comprendre comment les avantages de la certification peuvent être reproduits dans d'autres régions, nous posons la question du rôle du capital social dans la gestion de la certification? Nous constatons que le capital social a un effet sur les motivations économiques à la certification, et les décisions des coopératives quant à la mise en place de certifications collectives ou individuelles. Le capital social des individus joue également un rôle dans leur acceptation des certifications environnementales volontaires. Si elle est bien gérée, la certification a le potentiel de créer un cercle vertueux de renforcement du capital social au sein d'une coopérative.
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Chapter 8 This thesis began asking the general question: What is the role of Costa Rican coffee cooperatives in the management of voluntary coffee certifications? This question is further broken down in the following subquestions: What factors influence the decisions that cooperatives make regarding the management of certifications?; What financial and non-financial incentives are offered to cooperatives and their members to encourage participation in voluntary certifications?; What are the effects of certification at the cooperative level? Cooperatives play a vital role in managing certifications and helping small farmers access certified markets. This role includes implementing a system of internal control and traceability to ensure quality and separate certified and non-certified product. Cooperatives also assess the needs of the members regarding advisory services needed to change farming practices and increase traceability. They provide the needed services to their members. These services can put a considerable strain on the human resources of the cooperative and the amount of coffee sold with certification may be quite low. For these reasons cooperatives often choose to certify only a portion of their members. When deciding which certifications to pursue, cooperatives consider the quality and quantity of coffee they produce. Cooperatives with low quality coffee (particularly small and medium-sized cooperatives located at low altitudes) often choose Fair Trade and possibly organic certification. Large cooperatives with high quality coffee are more likely to pursue CAFE Practices, Rainforest Alliance and Utz. They often pursue multiple certifications but do not sell more than 30% of the harvest in any one certification. Small cooperatives which produce high quality coffee often find that they do not need certifications to obtain a high price for their coffee. Cooperatives may or may not receive a premium for certified coffee. The premium depends on the world price of coffee and on the type of certification. Premiums for certifications such as Fair Trade, organic and Utz fluctuate inversely with the world price of coffee. Financial incentives for these certifications may completely disappear in times of high world prices. While the premium for
Conclusions Rainforest Alliance appears to be quite stable, the premium for CAFE Practices appears to fluctuate along with market highs and lows. In times of low world prices financial incentives may be absent. Even if cooperatives receive a premium for certified coffee, they may not be able or willing to offer a premium to individually certified members. This is because certifications induce cooperatives to offer more intense and diversified services to their members, which leads us to the next research questions:
How do a cooperative’s advisory services change with certification?
How do certifications affect outside stakeholders’ influence on cooperative services?
Which services (group training, farm visits, provision of plant material, etc.) are most effective in increasing the sustainability of farming practices?
Certifications compel cooperatives to promote a more holistic approach to coffee production. In addition to traditional advisory services which focus on the management of pests and disease and raising productivity, certification standards oblige cooperatives to offer services related to soil and water protection, pesticide safety and handling and adaptation to climate change. Cooperatives engage in new partnerships with outside stakeholders or reconfigure existing relationships to provide these services. Cooperative administrators agree that this holistic approach has changed farmers’ perceptions about their farming practices. Farmers gradually realize that they can manage their farms without the prohibited pesticides and that a certain pest threshold is acceptable. Group training is the most effective in changing management practices such as maintaining a farm record book, wearing a mask while applying pesticides. Certifications do not seem to be very effective in increasing the sustainability of farming practices which compete directly with yield or quality. Only organic certification, which offers a (sometimes substantial) premium to compensate for loss of yield is able to significantly decrease agrochemical use. Other farming practices, such as the use of shade trees, are linked to more tangible services, like the free provision of plant material.
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Chapter 8 As cooperatives form new relationships with stakeholders, they increase their networks. This can be considered an increase in social capital. Members benefit from this social network by accessing information from new sources. This leads us to the final research questions:
What role does the social capital of the members and the organization play in the management of voluntary certifications?
What is the potential for certifications to build social capital in cooperatives?
Cooperatives which participate in certifications have medium to high levels of social capital at the organizational level. A certain level of social capital is necessary to cooperate with outside organizations and to ensure an equitable and transparent distribution of financial and non-financial incentives for certification. Cooperatives with high levels of bridging social capital have a more commercial approach to certifications, and a few select members may reap the benefits of certification. Cooperatives with a strong sense of solidarity among all members choose collective certifications and an equal distribution of financial and in-kind incentives. Cooperatives with low levels of both types of social capital are not able to access certifications because of lack of empowerment or collaboration with other organizations and lack of solidarity within the group. The social capital of the individuals in the cooperative also effects the management of certifications. Individuals who voluntarily pursue Rainforest Alliance certification without financial compensation are more likely to have generalized trust in others. Higher generalized trust was not found in members individually certified in Utz and who were paid a certification premium. On one hand, certifications have the potential to increase the social capital of the membership by strengthening the community embeddedness of farmers’ organizations. Consistent and regular contact between farmers and cooperative staff builds trust and can facilitate the production of knowledge about new farming practices. The enforcement of the norms of certification can also build trust and reciprocity within the cooperative.
Conclusions On the other hand, poorly managed certifications can increase the inequality within an organization and destroy trust. The national context into which the certification is adopted must be considered and, if necessary, the levels of social capital should be ameliorated before the adoption of certification. In conclusion, Costa Rica provides an interesting environmental to study coffee certifications because of the important role played by farmers’ organizations and the unique policy conditions. I have demonstrated that cooperatives play an important role by facilitating small farmer access to certifications, acting as an intermediary between other stakeholders to provide services including more intensive advisory services to members and make important decisions regarding how to balance the financial incentives for certification with the solidarity within the cooperative. Certifications change advisory services in the cooperative. I demonstrated that certifications compel cooperatives to diversify and intensify advisory services. They do this by engaging other stakeholders to directly provide services or to help the cooperatives to improve services delivery. In some cases these are new collaborations and in other cases cooperatives are forced to reconfigure existing collaborations with stakeholders. These new advisory services influence farming practices and farmers’ perceptions about sustainable practices. Social capital plays an interesting role in the management of voluntary coffee certifications. The balance of social capital in a cooperative affects the equality in the distribution of financial and inkind incentives. The social capital of individuals also plays a role in their acceptance of voluntary environmental certifications. If well-managed, certifications have the potential to create a virtuous cycle of social capital creation within a cooperative.
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Conclusiones En esta tesis se plantea la pregunta general: ¿Cuál es el papel de las cooperativas de café de Costa Rica en la gestión de certificaciones voluntarias de café? A su vez, esta pregunta se desglosa en las siguientes sub-preguntas: ¿Qué factores influyen en las decisiones que toman las cooperativas con respecto a la gestión de las certificaciones?; ¿Qué incentivos financieros y no financieros se ofrecen a las cooperativas y a sus miembros para fomentar la participación en las certificaciones voluntarias?; ¿Cuáles son los efectos de la certificación a nivel de la cooperativa? Las cooperativas desempeñan un papel fundamental en la gestión de las certificaciones y ayudan a los pequeños agricultores a acceder al mercado de productos certificados. Esta función incluye la implementación de un sistema de control interno y de trazabilidad para garantizar la calidad y el producto certificado y no certificado por separado. Las cooperativas también evalúan las necesidades de los miembros con respecto a los servicios de asesoramiento necesarios para cambiar las prácticas agrícolas y aumentar la trazabilidad. Estos servicios pueden ser muy exigentes y exceder la capacidad de la cooperativa. Además, la cantidad de café que se vende con la certificación puede ser bastante baja. Por estas razones, las cooperativas suelen optar por certificar sólo a una parte de sus asociados. Al optar por un tipo u otro de certificación, la cooperativa toma en cuenta la calidad y cantidad de café que produce. Las cooperativas con baja calidad del café (en particular las pequeñas y medianas cooperativas situadas a baja altitud) a menudo optan por el Comercio Justo y tal vez la certificación orgánica. Las grandes cooperativas con café de alta calidad son más proclives a seguir las certificaciones CAFE Practices, Rainforest Alliance y Utz. Frecuentemente, optan por diversos tipos de certificación, pero no se suele vender más del 30% de la cosecha en cada una de ellas. Las pequeñas
Conclusions cooperativas que producen café de alta calidad a menudo encuentran que no necesitan certificaciones para obtener un precio alto por su café. Las cooperativas pueden o no pueden recibir una prima por el café certificado. La prima depende del precio mundial del café y del tipo de certificación. Las primas para las certificaciones como el Comercio Justo, orgánico y Utz fluctúan inversamente con el precio mundial del café y pueden desaparecer cuando el precio mundial está lo suficientemente alto. En el caso de de la certificación Rainforest Alliance la prima parece ser bastante estable, mientras que la prima para la certificación CAFE Practices parece fluctuar paralelamente a los precios del mercado y puede desaparecer cuando el precio mundial se mantiene bajo. Incluso cuando las cooperativas reciben una prima por el café certificado, pueden no repercutir esta prima a los miembros certificados de forma individual. Esto se debe a que las certificaciones requieren que las cooperativas ofrezcan más y más diversificados servicios a sus asociados, lo que nos lleva a plantear las siguientes preguntas de investigación: ¿Cómo cambian los servicios de asesoramiento de una cooperativa con la gestión de la certificación?, ¿Cómo afectan las certificaciones en los servicios de cooperación fuera del ámbito de los interesados?, ¿Qué servicios (formación en grupo, visitas a explotaciones agrícolas, suministro de material vegetal, etc.) son más eficaces en el aumento de la sostenibilidad de las prácticas agrícolas? Las certificaciones obligan a las cooperativas a promover un enfoque más integral en la producción de café. Además de los servicios de asesoramiento tradicionales que se centran en el manejo de plagas y enfermedades y en el aumento de la productividad, las normas de certificación obligan a las cooperativas a ofrecer servicios relacionados con la protección del suelo y del agua; la seguridad de pesticidas y la manipulación; y la adaptación al cambio climático. Las cooperativas se dedican a nuevas asociaciones con las partes externas o reconfiguran las relaciones existentes para proporcionar estos servicios. Los administradores de las cooperativas están de acuerdo en que este enfoque holístico ha cambiado las percepciones de los agricultores acerca de sus prácticas agrícolas. 181 | P a g e
Chapter 8 Los agricultores se van dando cuenta poco a poco de que puedan administrar sus fincas sin utilizar plaguicidas prohibidos y que un cierto nivel de plagas puede ser aceptable. La formación en grupo es el medio más eficaz para promover el cambio de las prácticas de gestión, tales como el mantenimiento de un libro de registro de explotación, o el uso de máscara durante la aplicación de pesticidas. Las certificaciones no parecen ser muy eficaces en el aumento de la sostenibilidad de las prácticas agrícolas que compiten directamente con el rendimiento o con la calidad. Solamente la certificación orgánica, que ofrece una prima (a veces considerable) para compensar la pérdida de rendimiento, es capaz de disminuir significativamente el uso de agroquímicos. Otras prácticas agrícolas, tales como el uso de árboles de sombra, están vinculados a servicios más tangibles, como la donación de material vegetal. A medida que las cooperativas forman nuevas relaciones con las partes interesadas van aumentando sus redes. Esto se puede considerar un aumento de capital social. Los asociados se benefician de esta red social mediante el acceso a la información de nuevas fuentes. Esto nos lleva a las preguntas de investigación finales: ¿Qué papel juega el capital social de los asociados en la gestión de las certificaciones voluntarias?, ¿Cuál es el potencial de las certificaciones para construir capital social en las cooperativas? Las cooperativas que participan en las certificaciones tienen niveles de capital social de medios a altos dentro de de la organización. Es necesario un cierto nivel de capital social para cooperar con organizaciones externas y para asegurar una distribución equitativa y transparente de incentivos financieros y no financieros para la certificación. Las cooperativas con altos niveles de capital social de puente (bridging) tienen un enfoque más comercial sobre los productos certificados, y algunos miembros selectos se pueden favorecer de los beneficios de la certificación. Las cooperativas con altos niveles de capital social de apega (bonding) tienen un fuerte sentido de solidaridad entre todos los miembros y eligen las certificaciones colectivas y una distribución equitativa de los incentivos financieros y en especie. Las cooperativas con bajos niveles de ambos tipos de capital social no son 182
Conclusions capaces de acceder a las certificaciones a causa de la falta de autonomía o la colaboración con otras organizaciones y la falta de solidaridad dentro del grupo. El capital social personal de los asociados también afecta a la gestión de las certificaciones. Las personas que ejercen voluntariamente la certificación de Rainforest Alliance sin compensación financiera son más propensas a tener la confianza generalizada de otros. No se encontró mayores niveles de confianza generalizada en miembros certificados individualmente en Utz y a los que se les pagó una prima para la certificación. Por un lado, las certificaciones tienen el potencial de aumentar el capital social de los asociados mediante el fortalecimiento de la inserción comunitaria de las organizaciones de agricultores. El contacto constante y regular entre los agricultores y asociados de la cooperativa genera confianza y puede facilitar la producción de conocimiento sobre nuevas prácticas agrícolas. La aplicación de las normas de la certificación también puede crear confianza y reciprocidad dentro de la cooperativa. Por otro lado, las certificaciones mal administradas pueden aumentar la desigualdad dentro de una organización y destruir la confianza. El contexto nacional en el que se adopta la certificación debe ser tenido en cuenta para, en caso necesario, mejorar los niveles de capital social antes de la aprobación de la certificación. En conclusión, Costa Rica ofrece un lugar interesante para estudiar las certificaciones de café debido al importante papel desempeñado por las organizaciones de agricultores y a las condiciones de política únicas. En esta tesis se demuestra que las cooperativas: desempeñan un papel importante al facilitar el acceso de los pequeños agricultores a las certificaciones; actúan como intermediarios entre otras partes interesadas; proporcionan servicios de asesoramiento más intensivas a sus asociados; y toman decisiones importantes con respecto a la forma de equilibrar los incentivos financieros para la certificación de forma solidaria dentro de la cooperativa.
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Chapter 8 Se demuestra que las certificaciones obligan a las cooperativas a diversificar e intensificar los servicios de asesoramiento. Lo hacen mediante la participación de otras partes interesadas que proporcionan directamente los servicios o que ayudan a las cooperativas a mejorar los servicios existentes. Estos nuevos servicios de asesoramiento influyen en las prácticas agrícolas y en las percepciones de los agricultores acerca de las prácticas sostenibles. El capital social juega un papel interesante en la gestión de certificaciones voluntarias de café. El saldo del capital social en una cooperativa afecta a la igualdad en la distribución de los incentivos financieros y en especie. El capital social de los individuos también juega un papel en la aceptación de certificaciones voluntarias ambientales. Si están bien administradas, las certificaciones tienen el potencial de crear un círculo virtuoso en la creación de capital social dentro de una cooperativa.
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Appendix A : Social Capital Survey Questions
Questions which measure bridging Point value of response social capital
Groups and networks
I would like to ask you about the Absolute number of groups groups or organizations, networks, associations to which you belong. Of how many such groups are you a member?
Trust and solidarity
Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people?
0= One cannot be too careful, 1= In general one can trust
Trust and solidarity
How much do you trust local government officials?
0= to a very small extent, 1= to a small extent, 2= neither great nor small extent, 3= to a great extent, 4= to a very great extent
Trust and solidarity
How much do you trust national government officials?
0= to a very small extent, 1= to a small extent, 2= neither great nor small extent, 3= to a great extent, 4= to a very great extent
Trust and solidarity
How much do you trust the police?
0= to a very small extent, 1= to a small extent, 2= neither great nor small extent, 3= to a great extent, 4= to a very great extent
Information and communication
Which are the most important sources of information for you regarding coffee cultivation, and pests and disease?
Absolute number of sources
Empowerment and political action
In general, how happy do you consider yourself to be?
0= very unhappy, 1= moderately unhappy 2= neither happy nor unhappy, 3= moderately happy, 4= very happy
Empowerment and political action
Do you feel that you have the 0= Totally unable to change life, 1= power to make important decisions Mostly unable to change life, 2= that change the course of your life? neither unable nor able, 3= mostly able to change life, 4= totally able to change life To what extent to local government 0= not at all, 1= a little, 2= a lot and local leaders take into account concerns voiced by you and people like you when they make decisions that affect you?
Empowerment and political action
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Questions which measure bonding Point value of response social capital
Groups and networks
Do attend the cooperative's biannual general assemblies?
0= No, 1= yes
Groups and networks
Do you attend other cooperative events like talks and group trainings? In general the cooperative's administration operates
0= Never, 1= sometimes, 2= always
Groups and networks
0= ineffectively, 1= Neither effectively nor ineffectively, 2= effectively
Trust and solidarity
The majority of the members of the 0= Totally disagree, 1= disagree, 2= cooperative are willing to help neither agree nor disagree, 3= agree, when it is necessary 4= totally agree
Trust and solidarity
The majority of the members of this 0= Totally disagree, 1= disagree, 2= neighborhood are willing to help neither agree nor disagree, 3= agree, when it is necessary 4= totally agree
Trust and solidarity
How much do you trust the cooperative's administration?
0= to a very small extent, 1= to a small extent, 2= neither great nor small extent, 3= to a great extent, 4= to a very great extent
Trust and solidarity
Do you think that in the last 10 years the level of trust in the cooperative has improved, gotten worse, or stayed the same?
0= gotten worse, 1= stayed the same, 2= improved
Trust and solidarity
If a community project does not directly benefit you but has benefits for many others in the village, would you contribute time to the project? If a community project does not directly benefit you but has benefits for many others in the village, would you contribute money to the project?
0= would not contribute time, 1= would contribute time
How would you characterize the social unity in the cooperative?
0= very ununited, 1= ununited, 2= neither united nor ununited, 3= united, 4= very united
Trust and solidarity
Social cohesion and inclusion
0= would not contribute money, 1= would contribute money
Appendix Social cohesion and inclusion
Social cohesion and inclusion
Collective action and cooperation
Collective action and cooperation
There are often differences in characteristic between people in an organization. For example differences in wealth, income, social status or ethnic background. There can also be differences in religious or political beliefs or differences due to age or sex. To what extent do any such differences characterize the cooperative? Do you think that the cooperative's policy on pricing differentials (paying/not paying a premium for certification or altitude, depending on the cooperative) causes tension among the members?
0= To a very great extent, 1= to a great extent, 2= neither great nor small extent, 3= to a small extent, 5= to a very small extent
In the past 12 months have you or anyone in your family worked with others in the village to do something for the benefit of the community? Did many people from the community participate in this (these) project(s)?
0= No, 1= yes
0= To a very great extent, 1= to a great extent, 2= neither great nor small extent, 3= to a small extent, 5= to a very small extent
0= very few, 1= few, 2= neither few nor many, 3= many 4= very many
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Appendix B: Coffee Cooperative Census Questions
Appendix PARTE 1: DATOS GENERALES 1-A: Nombre de la cooperativa/asociación _______________________________________ 1-B: ¿Cuantos productores estaban miembros de su organización en 2012?___ 1-C: ¿Que fue el área total de los cafetales cultivado de sus miembros en 2012 en hectáreas? ____ 1-D: ¿A que altura se encuentra el cafetal más alto de su organización? ______________________m 1-E: ¿A que altura se encuentra el cafetal mas bajo de su organización? ______________________m 1-F: ¿Cuál es la cantidad total de café que se vende por su organización en la cosecha 2012-2013? __________________________quintales 1-G: ¿Cual porcentaje de su cosecha de 2012-2013 se vendió de cada calidad? SHB+_____________% SHB______________% GHB______________% HB_______________% PARTE 2: COSTOS DE CERTIFICACION
Por favor, completa los cuadros siguientes para cada sello.
2-A: ¿Cuanto pagó su organización en gastos por cada certificación en 2012?
2-B: ¿Cuánto pagó su organización por las auditorías por cada certificación?
Comercio Justo Rainforest Alliance Orgánico CAFE Practices Utz Certified 4C Nespresso AAA Otras (Especificar)
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References PARTE 3 : PARTICIPACION EN CERTIFICACIONES 3-A
Certificación Comercio Justo Rainforest Alliance
¿Cuanta área de tierra fue certificada en 2012?
Certificación colectiva (c) o Individual (I) ?
3-C ¿Cuantos miembros certificados tenia su organización en cada sello en 2012?
3-G ¿Qué porcentaje de Por favor marque la casilla contratos recibió ¿Cuanto correspondiente a cada año que una prima del ¿Cual fue café se vendió en el primer año fueron certificados en cada sello comprador en 2012 la cosecha 2012- que se tiene (adicional a la prima 2013? cada de calidad) por cada certificación? 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 certificación?
Orgánico CAFE Practices Utz Certified 4C Nespresso AAA Otras
3-H ¿Cuanto recibió su organización en promedio en primas (adicional a la prima de calidad) en 2012? En US$/quintal
Appendix PARTE 4: PRIMAS 4-A: ¿En la cosecha 2012-2013 ha recibido una prima por la calidad de su café? 4-B: ¿Si recibió ¿Cuál es la cantidad promedio de la prima ___________________________$/quintal 4-C
Que es el monto de la prima pagado por el comprador?
Que es el monto de la prima pagado a los productores? En $/quintal
¿La organización pago una prima a productores en 2012? ¿Basado en la calidad del café? ¿Basado en el porcentaje rojo/verde? ¿Por certificación Comercio Justo? ¿Por certificación Rainforest Alliance? ¿Por producción orgánico? ¿Por certificación CAFE Practices? ¿Por certificación Utz? ¿Por certificación 4C? ¿Por certificación Nespresso AAA?
¿Por otras certificaciones?
PARTE 5: GASTOS DE ADMINISTRACION 5-A: ¿La certificación ha subido los gastos de administración de su cooperativa por… …¿Implementación de la sistema de control interno? …¿Tramites asociada con la certificación? …¿Tiempo en reuniones con los certificadores? …¿Transporte a los reuniones?
5-B: ¿Tiene su organización un empleo dedicado a certificación? 5-C: ¿Tiene su organización un empleo que dedica parte de su tiempo a certificación? 5-D: Si tiene, ¿Cuánto porcentaje de su tiempo esta dedicada a certificación?__ __ ____________ 5-E: ¿La organización ha comprado algunos equipos a cumplir con las reglas de certificación? 5-F: ¿Hay otros tipos de infraestructura que había que poner en práctica (por favor explique)? ______ ___________________
PARTE 6: TRAZABILIDAD Puede explicar su sistema de trazabilidad? 203 | P a g e
References ¿En 2012, se separa la cosecha… …por …por productor? certificación?
Comercio Justo Rainforest Alliance Orgánico CAFE Practices Utz Certified 4C Nespresso AAA Otras (Specificar)
PARTE 7: MOTIVACIONES Y INVESTIGACIONES 7-1: ¿Cuál es la motivación más importante que usted tiene para elegir una certificación? _______Para cumplir con la petición de un comprador _______Para mejorar la sostenibilidad ambiental de la cooperativa _______Para mejorar la sostenibilidad social de la cooperativa _______Para encontrar nuevos mercados para su café _______Para ganar una prima por el café _______El acceso a la financiación _______Otros motivaciones (por favor, explique____________________________________
7-2 ¿Cuáles son los mayores desafíos para su organización? _______ _________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________
Esas son todas mis preguntas, ¿Quiere añadir algo? ¿Quiere preguntarme algo?
¡Muchas gracias por sus respuestas!
Appendix C: Farming Practices Questionnaire
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References Semi-structured survey with cooperative members A: Basic Information A1: Who makes the decisions concerning the management of your coffee farm? A2: For how long have you been the person who makes decisions? A3: What is the area of your coffee farm(s)? A4: Are you a member of a cooperative? Which one(s)? A5: Do you sell your entire harvest to the cooperative? Do you sell to private mills? A6: Does your cooperative participate in any certifications? (information cross-checked with cooperative staff) A7: Does your farm have any certifications? (please list) If yes,
since what year?
Why did you decide to certify your farm?
What changes did you have to make to your farm to comply with (each) certification?
What do you think about (each) certification?
B: Training and services
B1: For you, what is the most important source of information regarding growing coffee?
B2: Do you attend training sessions sponsored by the cooperative? How many times in an average year? What are the topics?
B3: Do you attend training sessions sponsored by any other organizations? Which ones? How many times in an average year? What are the topics?
B4: Do you receive site visits from the cooperative agronomist? How many times in an average year? What do you talk about?
B5: Do you receive site visits from an agronomist from any other organization? Which one(s)? How many times in an average year? What do you talk about?
B6: Do you attend any other events sponsored by the cooperative? What type of event? What other organizations are involved (Icafe, MAG, chemical companies etc)?
B7: Have you used any of the other services of the cooperative (credit, shade trees, live barriers, signage for pesticide sheds etc)? Please explain.
C: Management Practices
C1: Do you use a farm record book to record earnings, expenses, applications of chemicals, etc? When did you start using it? Why did you start using it? Did you learn how to use it at a training class?
C2: Do you apply pesticides on your farm (or does a hired laborer or family member apply them)? (If the farmer applies them personally) Can you please describe what protective equipment you wear when you apply pesticides? Over the past 20 years, have you changed what you wear when you apply pesticides? Why did you change? 207 | P a g e
D: Farming Practices:
D1: Do you use fungicides on your coffee farm? How many times did you apply fungicides last year? Would you have applied more fungicides if the price had been lower? Over the past 20 years, has your use of fungicides changed? Why did it change? Have the products that you used changed? Why?
D2: Do you use chemical herbicides on your coffee farm? How many times did you apply herbicides last year? Over the past 20 years, has your use of herbicides changed? When did it change? Why did it change?
D3: Do you use chemical fertilizers on your coffee farm? How many times did you apply fertilizers last year? Would you have applied more fertilizers last year if the price of fertilizers had been lower? Over the past 20 years, have you changed how you fertilize your coffee farm? Why did you change? Do you use a soil test to determine the amount of fertilizer you should apply?
D4: Do you have shade trees (or other shade species) in your coffee plantation? What species do you have? Over the past 20 years, has the number of shade trees on your coffee farm increased? Why? Over the past 20 years, has the number of species of shade trees on your coffee farm increase? Why? What organizations promote the use of shade tree on coffee farms?
Appendix D: Social Capital Index Data
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Coop 1 Coop 1 Coop 1 Coop 1 Coop 1 Coop 1 Coop 1 Coop 1 Coop 1 Coop 1 Coop 1 Coop 1 Coop 1 Coop 1 Coop 1 Coop 1 Coop 1 Coop 1 0,916667 0,884615 0,846154 0,634615 0,596154 0,884615 0,865385 0,961538 0,865385 0,788462 0,769231 0,826923 0,681818 0,692308 0,673077 0,615385 0,807692 0,846154 0,640741 0,572222 0,588889 0,451852 0,364815 0,52037 0,652083 0,585185 0,629167 0,612963 0,612963 0,720833 0,288889 0,609259 0,502083 0,445238 0,509524 0,861111
Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 0,892857 0,857143 0,875 0,482143 0,767857 0,767857 0,839286 0,678571 0,875 0,857143 0,875 0,833333 0,785714 0,821429 0,767857 0,711538 0,892857 0,714286 0,683333 0,751852 0,580952 0,62963 0,724074 0,47963 0,564583 0,618519 0,738889 0,666667 0,622222 0,670833 0,707407 0,718519 0,451852 0,427778 0,833333 0,512963
Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 Coop 2 0,5 0,642857 0,807692 0,767857 0,767857 0,964286 0,615385 0,75 0,839286 0,692308 0,714286 0,839286 0,807692 0,903846 0,803571 0,732143 0,714286 0,803571 0,964286 0,839286 0,946429 0,732143 0,571429 0,666667 0,4375 0,37963 0,559259 0,531481 0,598148 0,6 0,777778 0,457407 0,624074 0,694444 0,47037 0,644444 0,275926 0,927778 0,705556 0,640741 0,512963 0,772222 0,794444 0,624074 0,690741 0,761111 0,52963 0,435185 0,347917 0,191667
Coop 3 Coop 3 Coop 3 Coop 3 Coop 3 Coop 3 Coop 3 Coop 3 Coop 3 Coop 3 Coop 3 Coop 3 Coop 3 0,678571 0,75 0,946429 0,576923 0,769231 0,596154 0,625 0,875 0,803571 0,604167 0,458333 0,730769 0,75 0,655556 0,355556 0,735185 0,540741 0,355556 0,475926 0,612963 0,664583 0,587037 0,507407 0,612963 0,448148 0,716667
Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 0,65 1 0,729167 0,625 0,5 0,857143 0,892857 0,982143 0,928571 0,557692 0,961538 0,928571 0,767857 0,821429 0,660714 0,444444 0,535714 0,625 0,448148 0,674074 0,581481 0,646296 0,22381 0,8 0,581481 0,52037 0,568519 0,383333 0,474074 0,835185 0,540741 0,735185 0,562963 0,547222 0,646296 0,418519
Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 Coop 4 0,727273 0,704545 0,678571 0,75 0,785714 0,788462 0,725 0,75 0,696429 0,708333 0,596154 0,678571 1 0,785714 1 0,732143 0,803571 0,767857 0,785714 0,839286 0,821429 0,53125 0,821429 0,865385 0,590909 0,55 0,457407 0,540741 0,568519 0,614815 0,587037 0,590741 0,452083 0,512963 0,688889 0,47963 0,437037 0,694444 0,451852 0,701852 0,410417 0,574074 0,52963 0,540741 0,668519 0,618519 0,61875 0,309259 0,401852 0,588889
Coop 5 Coop 5 0,791667 0,916667 0,507407 0,546296
Appendix E: Aportaciones Originales, Impresos de Aceptación y Renuncia a Presentarlos a Otras Tesis Doctorales
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References Artículo: Small Farmer Cooperatives and Voluntary Coffee Certifications: Rewarding Progressive Farmers of Engendering Widespread Sustainability in Costa Rica? Anna Snider, Guy Faure, Isabel Guitérrez, Nicole Sibelet Los autores aceptan la aportación del 80% de Anna Snider y renuncian a presentar este artículo como elemento de una tesis doctoral por artículos. Firmas:
Appendix Artículo: Voluntary Coffee Certifications Influence how Cooperatives Provide Advisory Services to Smallholder Farmers in Costa Rica Anna Snider, Eva Kraus, Aske Bosselmann, Nicole Sibelet, Guy Faure Los autores aceptan la aportación del 80% de Anna Snider y renuncian a presentar este artículo como elemento de una tesis doctoral por artículos Firmas:
________________________________ Guy Faure
213 | P a g e
References Artículo: National Contexts Matter: Social Capital and Voluntary Coffee Certifications in Costa Rica Anna Snider, Ana Afonso Gallegos, Isabel Gutiérrez, Nicole Sibelet Los autores aceptan la aportación del 80% de Anna Snider y renuncian a presentar este artículo como elemento de una tesis doctoral por artículos
Ana Afonso Gallegos
Appendix F: Conference Communication
Tropentag 2014, Prague, Czech Republic September 17-19, 2014 Conference on International Research on Food Security, Natural Resource Management and Rural Development organised by the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague
Farmers’ Organizations: Building Social Capital for the Conservation of Natural Resources in Uganda Anna Snidera,e, Vincent Canwatb, Nashon Mogonchic, Nawa Malumod, Andreas de Neergaardb, Nicole Sibeleta,e a CIRAD UMR Innovation, 34398 Montpellier France, bUniversity of Copenhagen, Denmark, cEdgerton University, Kenya, dMakerere University, Uganda eCATIE, IDEA Turrialba 30501; Costa Rica
Introduction Several studies have shown that social capital, defined as trust in others, social networks and norms of reciprocity, is essential to foment the collective action necessary to manage natural resources (Sonderskov, 2009). Social capital is normally divided into two categories: bridging social capital, which refers to horizontal networks of kin and close-knit groups and bonding social capital which refers to vertical networks across many groups. A balance between high bridging and high bonding social capital can cultivate progressive participation in determining community priorities and shared resources. When both types of social capital are low, communities are plagued by extreme individualism and opportunistic exploitation of common resources. An imbalance in bridging and bonding social capitals can cause community priorities to be determined by outside entities or resistance to change and maligning of outsiders (Flora, Flora, Spears, & Swanson, 2013). Organizations which are able to build social capital in the form of shared norms promote collective action and reduce the cost of monitoring and sanctioning those who exploit natural resources (Ostrom, 1990). This research investigates if Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILCs) can build social capital among their members which can then be used to collectively manage group natural resources. Empirical research finds that social capital, as defined as trust in others, is very low in the parts of Africa historically affected by the trans-Atlantic slave trade (Nunn & Wantchekon, 2011) and violent conflict (Colletta, 2000). The Nnindye area where this study was conducted was affected by both the trans-Atlantic slave trade and, more recently by violent conflict during the civil war and the war with Tanzania. Pappila (2013) found that active participation in community natural resource conservation schemes can build trust among the participants. However, facilitation by an NGO or other outside organization may be needed. Four features are important to consider regarding building social capital within organizations: relations of trust; reciprocity and exchanges; common rules, norms and sanctions; and connectedness in networks and groups (Pretty, 2003). We looked for evidence that NGO216
supported SILC schemes are building these important features which could then facilitate the conservation of community natural resources. Material and Methods This research was undertaken as part of a field methods training course for two PhD programs: Agriculture Transformation by Innovation (AgTraIn) administered by the University of Copenhagen and Agriculture and Rural Innovation (ARI) administered by Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. The research group consisted of two AgTraIn students and two ARI students. Results are a compliation of six days of fieldwork which consisted of four focus groups, (three with members of various farmers’ groups and one with non-members), semistructuredinterviews (Sibelet, Mutel et al., 2013) with key informants, employees of NGOs which sponsor farmers’ organizations in the area (UPFORD and World Vision International), members of farmers’ organizations and non-members of organizations. Research also included a review of the record books of two SILC groups and organizational records of UPFORD. Interviews were translated into English from Luganda by a local interpreter. Results and Discussion There is a high density of farmers’ organizations in Nnindye parish with several organizations in each village. All organizations observed were either self-initiated and externally supported or externally initiated and externally supported. Organizations without external support quickly dissolve. Despite Putnam’s proxy (Putnam, Leonardi, & Nanetti, 1994) which uses density of voluntary organizations as a proxy for social capital in an area, there are indications of low levels of trust in Nnindye which inhibits progressive participation in the community. We maintain that the density of voluntary organizations in the area is artificially high due to external governmental and NGO support. This paper will consider only those groups which were externally supported by the NGO University Partnership for Outreach Research and Development (UPFORD). These groups consist of two components: a Savings and Internal Lending Community (SILC) and a group banana project. In the SILC component, members contribute to their personal savings accounts at every weekly meeting. The proceeds earned from the banana project as well as the interest paid on loans are used to provide microloans to the members. Personal loans are generally used for agricultural purposes, investment in a small business or for school fees. The banana project consists of community banana plot managed by the group. Virusfree banana plantlets are provided by UPFORD. These plantlets are multiplied and managed on group land and the resulting suckers are distributed among the members. UPFORD provides training in good agricultural practices and members are expected to work together to maintain the plot. The members of the groups are relatively demographically homogenous. Seventy percent of the members are women and most are over forty years old. UPFORD organizers report that men, particularly those under forty years old, are not interested in the SILC/banana projects and prefer more lucrative individual schemes. Building Social Capital in SILC Groups The SILC groups in Nnindye, Uganda are building the four elements of social capital considered important by Pretty (2003): relations of trust; reciprocity and exchanges; common 217 | P a g e
rules, norms and sanctions; and connectedness in networks and groups. The support and guidance provided by UPFORD helps to build this capital. UPFORD provides leadership, empowerment and transparency training to group members and group rules are designed to reduce the members’ susceptibility to coercion. Groups with high levels of transparency enjoy relations of trust. Reciprocity and exchange are key tenants of Savings and Internal Lending Communities. As members pay back their loans, more money is available to other group members for loans. The groups enjoyed a 95% repayment rate on loans. UPFORD encourages the groups to make and enforce rules related to personal savings and the repayment of loans. The members vote on the rules and apply sanctions as a group. However there are some instances of the group approving rules that they were not willing to enforce, for example the use of land as collateral for loans. The SILC groups increased the networking and the interconnectedness of the participants. Groups meet weekly and members are penalized if they do not attend the meetings. Members listed meeting people and “the spirit of teamwork” as two of the benefits that they enjoyed because of their participation. In addition to increasing in-group networking, the SILC groups have some interaction with the greater community. Ten percent of the groups’ profit is distributed to members of the village identified as vulnerable persons. However, the members of the 27 groups supported by UPFORD have no contact with the other UPFORD groups; therefore there is little opportunity to build new contacts in different villages. Group members develop connections with representatives of UPFORD and with community leaders, but build few connections in other communities. For this reason, we assume that most of the social capital built within these SILC groups is bonding social capital. We found some evidence of this during the interviews and fieldwork. Group rules inhibited the addition of new members. Some groups allowed new members only if they matched the level of personal savings that founding group members had built up over the three and a half years of the group’s existence. Other groups refused new members, “They were not interested in the beginning. Now they see our progress and they want to join.” These potential members were told that they must start their own groups. When asked if they would allow their daughters to join, one woman replied “she can have my place (in the group) when I die.” The fact that the schemes cater mainly to women limits their potential to build bridging social capital among the participants. These schemes target women because the organizers feel that empowerment among women is particularly low in this area. However, low empowerment among men may inhibit the groups’ ability to build empowerment among women. We heard several reports of men removing their wives from the groups because they had become “too empowered.” One woman explained to us that she had to sneak out of the house to attend the weekly meetings because her husband did not want her to participate in the group, stating, “If we get money we won’t be submissive.” We feel that the empowerment of both men and women is necessary for successful collective action. Groups have also displayed bonding social capital in their decision making. Representatives of UPFORD found a buyer for the bananas produced on one group’s plot. The group did not honor the contract and decided instead to sell the bananas to group members at a deep discount, reducing the profit available for the group’s activities. Protection of Group Natural Resources While the SILC groups have the dual goals of poverty alleviation through savings and microcredit as well as the promotion of conservation and good agricultural practices, the 218
group members prioritize the savings and microcredit portion. Members work in the banana plots weekly but do not always adhere to the cultural practices for which they received training. They are more likely to use the practices in their own banana plots. Though 70% of the participants in the Nnindye SILC groups are women, male members and non- members are more likely to benefit from the distribution of seedstock. Of the twelve SILC groups in the Nnindye Parish for which data is available, men received 45% of the suckers distributed. UPFORD reports state that many of the suckers perished because they were taken by members who did not properly care for them or did not have an adequate place to plant them. Despite UPFORD’s goal of self-sustaining groups which are not dependent on external support, representatives stated that, after three and a half years, groups would likely dissolve without their support. Though human and social capital has been built within the groups, members still have not made plans for continuation of the group after UPFORD’s support ceases (in 1.5 years). The SILC portion of the group has been very active, but less attention has been paid to the group resource management. However, there is some evidence that the banana scheme has benefited from the leadership and transparency training provided for the SILC groups. One member told us that he left a corrupt group (which was not supported by UPFORD) because group leaders exploited the group resources for their personal gain. He chose the UPFORD-supported group because he trusted the members and recognized the importance of transparency and group decisionmaking. Conclusions and Outlook The literature suggests and our observations confirm that both bridging and bonding social capital are low in the area studied. Due to the important role that social capital can play in collective action for the conservation of natural resources, the cultivation of social capital among the farmers in Uganda is an important goal. SILC groups have the potential to build social capital among the participants by creating social networks, rules and norms and a culture of reciprocity. Self-initiated collective action has a potential to build social capital, but no “pure” forms of collective action were found in the area. Social capital within the community is too low for collective action without the support of an external agent such as an NGO. Lacking the social capital needed for collective action, we conclude that the externally-supported SILC groups are building trust in the community, albeit slowly. Because of the local appeal for savings and lending schemes, we feel that this model could be expanded to include other community resources such as sources of drinking water and forest resource protection. References Colletta, N. J. C. M. L. (2000). Violent conflict and the transformation of social capital lessons from Rwanda, Somalia, Cambodia, and Guatemala. Flora, C. B., Flora, J. L., Spears, J. D., & Swanson, L. E. (2013). Rural communities: legacy and change (4th ed.): Westview Press. Nunn, N., & Wantchekon, L. (2011). The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa.American Economic Review, 101(7), 3221-3252. doi: doi: 10.1257/aer.101.7.3221 Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the commons: The evolution of institutions for collective action: Cambridge university press. 219 | P a g e
Pappila, M. (2013). Forest certification and trust — Different roles in different environments. Forest Policy and Economics, 31(0), 3743. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2012.10.005 Pretty, J. (2003). Social Capital and the Collective Management of Resources. Science, 302(5652), 1912-1914. Putnam, R. D., Leonardi, R., & Nanetti, R. Y. (1994). Making democracy work: Civic traditions in modern Italy: Princeton university press. Sonderskov, K. M. (2009). The Environment. In G. T. Svendsen & G. L. H. Svendsen (Eds.), Handbook of Social Capital: The Troika of Sociology, Political Science and Economics (pp.252271). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.