Colloquium MSc thesis Pytsje Bakker

Published on
June 4, 2014

You are hereby kindly invited to the presentation of the MSc thesis of Pytsje Bakker entitled:  ‘Do Smallholders Benefit from Group Certification?'.
The colloquium will be held Friday, June 6, at 10.00, room C84, Leeuwenborch, Hollandseweg 1, Wageningen.

Supervisor: Otto Hospes

Titel: Do Smallholders Benefit from Group Certification?

A Case Study on the Social and Economic Effects of Rainforest Alliance Group Certification on Small-Scale Tea Farmers in Misiones, Argentina

Abstract: A common problem of voluntary, sustainable certification initiatives is that certification mainly reaches large-scale farmers. As a result, many small-scale farmers do not participate in a certification program. Therefore, several certification bodies initiated group certification as a tool to increase the accessibility for smallholders. The objective of this study is to generate insights on the effects of group certification on individual smallholders. In addition, this study aims to provide an understanding of the participation of smallholders in group certification. By conducting a case study on small-scale tea farmers in Argentina, the social and economic effects of Rainforest Alliance group certification and the participation of smallholders are investigated. The perceptions of certified smallholders are collected by field interviews. Additional information is gathered by interviews with other important stakeholders and by field observations. Analysis of the perceptions of the farmers showed that group certification barely contributed to the economic well-being of certified smallholders. However, the smallholders did perceive improvements on their social well-being; the main social effect of group certification is increased knowledge level of the farmers. Furthermore, this study discovered that group certification remains focused on large-scale farmers. As a consequence, still a limited number of smallholders participate in group certification. Based on these results it cannot be assumed that group certification includes smallholders and that certification leads to social and economic benefits for farmers.

Key-words: group certification, smallholder, effect, tea, Argentina, Rainforest Alliance.