We use structural equation modelling to conduct a path analysis for cacao production in West Sumatra, Indonesia, quantifying the main constraints identified by farmers attempting to increase their incomes. Stakeholders in a workshop identified low yield of cacao trees and low quality of cacao beans as the two main production constraints, which are the focus of this study. Farm-level data from 100 smallholders were analysed to describe and estimate the dependencies between various factors and their relationship to farmers’ income. Five variables – source of cacao seedlings, expenditure on pest and disease management, expenditure on fertilizer, frequency of pruning, and pest and disease attack – were hypothesized to influence the yield of cacao trees. Yet farmers considered only fertilizer expenditure to have the expected positive influence. They considered lack of capital to be a critical factor indirectly impeding fertilizing practices. Expectations that farmers would perceive that the quality of their cacao beans and their ability to bargain would affect the price they received proved incorrect.


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