Agriculture and Human Values 30 (1):5-20 (2013)

Despite their recent proliferation in global agricultural commodity chains, little is known about the potential of intersectoral partnerships to improve the position of smallholder farmers and their organizations. This article explores the potential of partnerships by developing a conceptual approach based on the sustainable livelihoods and linking farmers to market perspectives, which is applied in an exploratory study to six partnerships in the coffee sector in Peru. It is concluded that partnerships stimulate the application of standards to receive market access and therefore emphasize human capital development of farmers to facilitate certification. By transferring knowledge to farmers, partnerships present a new source of technological change, which, in combination with certification, holds potential for improved environmental management and price premiums for producers. However, the emphasis on certification results in a comparatively narrow target group of farmers and is associated with high financial burdens for producer organizations. At the same time, other assets of producer organizations are often not strengthened sufficiently for them to operate successfully without further external support. This suggests that preparing producers for certification is prioritized over empowering organizations toward self-dependence
Keywords Intersectoral partnerships  Coffee  Peru  Producer organizations  Assets  Market linkages
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DOI 10.1007/s10460-012-9372-z
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