Socio-economic effects of coffee certification on Indonesian smallholders

Ibnu Muhammad with Prof. Glasbergen and Prof. Bustanul Arifin Ibnu Muhammad

Paper 1: on farmer preferences for coffee certification schemes:

Certification is believed to contribute positively to smallholder’s livelihoods. However, this causal relationship, if it is existent at all, is highly debated. One factor contributing to this debate is that certification programs rarely consult the farmers in the development of a certification scheme, leading to neglecting farmers’ specific conditions, problems and their preferences in the program characteristics.  Based on literature research, Ibnu assumes that certification programs which are appropriate to farmers’ specific circumstances are preferred by farmers, and therefore more likely to make positive changes in farmers’ livelihoods.

The main research objective for the first fieldwork period is to examine farmers’ preferences on various attributes of coffee certifications.

Ibnu will derive different attributes from different certification schemes (Organic, Utz Kapeh, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, 4C). Subsequently, he will verify the completeness and understandability of these attributes in a pre-test survey and focus group with coffee farmers in Indonesia. In the next step, conjoint analysis is used to measure the various attributes of farmer’s preferences for assessing which certification scheme is considered ideal and how this ideal relates to existing schemes.

Ibnu, M., Glasbergen, P., Offermans, A., Arifin, B. (2015). Farmer preferences for coffee certification: a conjoint analysis of the Indonesian Smallholders. Journal of Agricultural Science, 7:6: 20-34

 click on the attched file for full screen view  Paper 2: on farmer particpation in certification:

The literature provides four competing explanations for farmer participation in sustainability standards and certification schemes: socio-demographic, economic, attitudinal, and institutional. However, little is known about the relative importance of these explanations. Knowledge about the relative importance is believed to lead to more effective standard implementation and smallholder inclusion. Ibnu, in his second paper, aimed to answer the question of the relative importance of the various explanations. Therefore, he reformulated the explanations into hypotheses and connected variables to each of them, which were further operationalized in relevant items. These items were used to develop structured questionnaires, which were filled-out in personal interviews with 160 farmers in Indonesia.

The results indicate that from the four competing explanations, the economic explanation is the most important, followed by the socio-demographic, institutional, and attitudinal explanations. Within the economic explanation, the prospect of a price premium and the prospect of increased productivity can be considered the most important motivations behind farmers’ participation.  

Muhammad Ibnu, M. I., Offermans, A., Glasbergen, P. & Ismono, H. (2016). Competing Explanations for Indonesian Smallholder Participations in Sustainability Coffee Certifications.  Journal of economics and sustainable development. 7, 24, p. 123-136

  Paper 3: On the relative importance of certification and organization in explaining farmer benefits.

Both certification and participation in farmer organizations are associated with economic and social benefits for farmers. However, knowledge about the relative importance of certification and organization, as well as potential differences in benefits resulting from different forms of organization, is limited. In this paper Ibnu distinguishes three types of farmer organizations in the Indonesian coffee sector: farmer groups, cooperatives and KUBEs. He compares the perceived benefits of farmers in these different forms of organization, including unorganized farmers, and of farmers in different certification schemes (i.e., Fairtrade, Utz certified, Rainforest Alliance, and 4C), including uncertified farmers. We expect this paper to be published in 2017.