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Abstract

The adoption of organic production has increased dramatically over recent years, especially in less developed countries. However, little information is available about who adopts, the difficulties they face in converting and how these factors vary over time. Using small-scale avocado producers (<15ha) from Michoacán, Mexico as a case study, this paper explores the factors affecting the time-to-adoption of organic production and certification, drawing from five parametric descriptions of the data. These models are implemented using a Bayesian approach and advances in Markov chain Monte Carlo methods. The results indicate that additional sources of income, together with membership of producers' associations, higher levels of education and experience of export markets, other than the US, have a positive effect on the adoption decision. Labour requirements and administrative capacity appear to be unimportant, while information sources and the frequency of contact with these sources have a varied, but largely negative effect on the probability of adoption. These findings raise a number of questions about the future of organic production in Mexico and the avocado zone, not least how to overcome credit and information constraints, but more importantly whether aiming for the organic market is a viable production strategy for small-scale producers.

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