Can Coffee Certification Promote Land-sharing and Protect Forest in Ethiopia?

We analyze whether private sustainability standards can promote land-sharing between coffee cultivation and forest conservation in southwestern Ethiopia. We compare garden and forest coffee systems, including non-certified and Rainforest Alliance (RA) certified forest coffee, and evaluate yields, productivity and profits. We use original household- and plot-level survey data from 454 households and 758 coffee plots, and ordinary least squares and fixed effects regression models. We find that coffee intensification from semi-forest coffee to garden coffee does not yield any substantial economic benefits in terms of productivity or profit. We find that RA certification increases land and labor productivity and profits of semi-forest coffee production, mainly by guaranteeing farmers a better price and not by improving yields. These findings imply that in southwestern Ethiopia land-sharing between less intensive coffee production and conservation of forest tree species is a viable sustainability strategy from an economic point of view, and that coffee certification is a viable strategy to promote land-sharing and create the economic incentives for farmers to refrain from further coffee intensification.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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