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Coffee Certification and Sustainable Smallholder Intensification in Southwestern Ethiopia

Boek - Dissertatie

Coffee (Coffea arabica L.) is an important export commodity for Ethiopia and an important source of income in the country. It; contributes 41% to foreign exchange earnings and 20 to 50% to household income. A main coffee zone is the Aftomontane forest of southwestern Ethiopia, where it originates from. In Southwestern Ethiopia, coffee is produced under fourproduction systems with different degrees of intensification: forest coffee (10% of total production), semi-forest coffee (35%), garden coffee (35%) and plantation coffee (20%). As intensification increases, forest/shade coverage decreases and labor and other input requirements increase. The intensification in coffee production improves economic returns but often comes at the expense of forest cover loss, loss of biodiversity and other ecosystem services.To circumvent orminimize such trade-offs between socio-economic and environmental benefits, sustainability certification schemes have been developed. In this research we analyze whether coffee certification helps to promote socially responsible, economically attractive, and environmentally friendly coffee production. In theory, certification leads to price premiums and improved market access, which, in turn, creates financial incentives for producers to meet certification requirements. In southwestern Ethiopia coffee is currently certified for Fair Trade (FT) standards, Organic standards, and Rainforest Alliance (RFA) standards. Each certification scheme works with different principles and criteria. While specific schemes have their own focus, they all touch upon the three sustainability dimensions (economic, social and environmental).Despite a growing number of studies on coffee value chains and coffee certification in Ethiopia, there is still a lack of empirical evidence that can substantiate and quantify the social, economic and environmental effects of smallholdercoffee certification. Previous studies have typically looked at one certification scheme and analyzed the effects on economic outcome indicators. Social and environmental effects and the degree of coffee intensification are hardly taken in to account in studies on the impact of coffee certification. The objective of this PhD research is to empiricallyanalyze the economic, social and environmental effects of coffee certification along a coffee intensification gradient. We thereby hope to create insights on the potential for the sustainable development of smallholder coffee production systems in southwestern Ethiopia.
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