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Drivers influencing farmer decisions for adopting organic or conventional coffee management practices

Bravo-Monroy, L., Potts, S. G. and Tzanopoulos, J. (2016) Drivers influencing farmer decisions for adopting organic or conventional coffee management practices. Food Policy, 58. pp. 49-61. ISSN 0306-9192

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2015.11.003


Colombia is one of the world’s most important producers of Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica), whose coffee-growing zone coincides with a biogeographic hotspot of biodiversity. Given that coffee agroecosystems are grown by both organic and conventional schemes of management in Santander, a region which produces coffees with specialist distinctive flavours, this study aims to better understand the factors that influence the adoption of these different schemes of management. A combination of ethnographic techniques and quantitative methods were used to examine the predominant drivers of adoption and revealed farmer perceptions associated with coffee farming, and the complexity of interacting factors, that surround their decision making. The results of qualitative analysis suggests that social identity of coffee growers, the existence of farming spaces (lived, perceived, rationalized), the influence of coffee institutions, attitudes about management practices, and social relations of production, all play an important role in the process of decision making. In quantitative terms, we identified 18 socioeconomic drivers, some with interacting effects that had significant influence on the decision to adopt either organic or conventional practices. In particular, at local scale, important factors were technology availability, the type of landowner, formal education of farmers, the role of institutions, membership of community organizations, farm size, coffee productivity and the number of coffee plots per farm. Likewise, economic drivers, such as crop profitability, determined how farmers are involved in trade and market networks at broad regional, national, and international spatial scales. By adopting a more integrated approach, combining qualitative and quantitative methodologies, we characterized the complexity of factors that influencing adoption of coffee management schemes and show that not only financial factors but also a variety of other social factors drive farmer decision making. Identifying the most influential behavioural drivers provides policy with opportunities to better support farmer livelihoods.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:68901


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