Organic Coffee for a Sustainable Development in Peru : A qualitative study on how Peruvian coffee farmers’ development is affected by choosing organic cultivation and certification

University essay from Mälardalens högskola/Akademin för ekonomi, samhälle och teknik



Title: Organic Coffee for a sustainable development in Peru -­‐ A qualitative study on how Peruvian coffee farmers’ development is affected by choosing organic cultivation and certification

Seminar date: 2013-­‐05-­‐31

University: Mälardalen University Västerås

Institution: School of Business, Society and Engineering

Level: Bachelor Thesis in Business Administration

Course name: Bachelor Thesis in Business Administration, FÖA 300, 15 ECTS

Author: Marcus Brink 1987-­‐05-­‐10

Tutors: Birgitta Schwartz

Examiner: Peter Dobers

Pages: 145

Attachments: List of interviews, Interview questions to coffee farmers

Key words: Sustainable development, organic, coffee, certifications, coffee farmers, small scale farmers, Peru, bachelor, conventional coffee, organic certification, profitability, environment, social entrepreneurship, context, coffee producers

Research question: In what way are small-­‐scale coffee farmers in the region of Junín, Peru, able to benefit from “Organic” certifications or conventional coffee cultivation to develop sustainable?

Purpose: The purpose of this field study was to get an understanding of how and if organic farming is an adequate solution for sustainable development of small-­‐scale coffee farmers in developing countries or not.

Method: This bachelor thesis was done as a field study financed by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) under the program of Minor Field Studies provided by the International Programme Office for Education and Training. For the field study a qualitative method has been used to better submit how the people involved understand and interpret their surrounding reality and to get a deep insight in their lives. The nature of the research question and the test subjects provided for a qualitative method rather than a quantitative. Qualitative measuring methods used for primary data gathering were, in-­‐depth interviews, observations, participations, spontaneous conversations, videos and photographs. Secondary sources used include literature, news magazines, public documents, and statistical data provided by organizations, institutions, webpages, and libraries through both Internet and physical form. The theoretical framework that lays a ground for the study has been based upon scholarly journals, scientific studies, scientific articles and other relevant existing research. The data that was gathered were later analyzed by qualitative methods.

Conclusion: Small-­‐scale coffee farmers in developing countries are able to benefit from organic certification but it cannot be considered a sustainable development. There’s too little emphasis on the social and economical aspects and too much focus on the environmental factors by the organic certification to make it interesting to many farmers. For a small-­‐scale coffee farmer to benefit from the organic certifications he need to have a very low intense cultivation from the beginning, before becoming certified. The organic certification incurs increased costs for the farmer and is more labor intense while it at the same time provides limited productivity ability and only gives a slightly better price to the farmer for his product. Farmers that grows conventional coffee and have a somewhat managed plantation will not benefit from certifying organic as it would give them the same income or less. The organic growing procedure also prohibits the use of important pesticides as insecticides and herbicides that makes organic farmers further susceptible and sensible for diseases and plagues on their crop. The numerous facts that make organic growing low productive labor intense makes it more motivating for many farmers to chose conventional coffee cultivation instead of organic and working with certification. 

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