Essays on Producer Organizations: Business Models, Social Inclusion and Food Safety
This PhD thesis entitled “Essays on Producer Organizations: Business Models, Social Inclusion and Food Safety” examines the role of producer organizations (POs) in value chain coordination and upgrading, and assesses the relationship between economic upgrading and social upgrading. We explore the business models of POs and find four types: bargaining, cooling, hub, and processing. We further examine the inclusion of poor and vulnerable farmers in value chains through POs as well as the impact of membership on the adoption of food safety measures. Bargaining POs are more inclusive of all farmers in membership, decision-making, and benefitting, while women and poor farmers are excluded from processing POs. Additionally, membership in POs increases smallholder’s adoption of food safety measures. We conclude that, with an increase in value chain coordination and upgrading, POs shift from a bargaining to a processing business model, which then leads to a trade-off between economic and social upgrading.