Thesis research: Cost-Benefit of Cacao Certification in Côte d’Ivoire

For the next six weeks, I’ll be in Côte d’Ivoire to conduct field surveys for my M.S. thesis/dissertation. Many thanks go to my advisor Rich Sexton, Ph D., Kaitlyn Smoot (recent UC Davis IAD/ARE M.S. graduate), and The World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), which has graciously taken me on as a Research Fellow to undertake this work. This research is supported by a UC Davis Jastro Research Grant

A summary of the research is below, with a longer proposal attached.

Cost-benefit analysis of cocoa sustainability certifications and drivers of net income for Côte d’ Ivoire smallholders

1. Background and rationale

Sustainability certifications are rapidly growing in the cacao sector, and tropical agriculture more broadly. These are purported to improve producer incomes but little research has explored this claim. Given that certification often involves added costs, with varied price premiums, cost-benefit analyses are critical. To fill this need, the present research will:

  • Compare net income across Côte d’ Iviore cacao producers in the Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Utz Certified certifications, and non-certified controls, to determine if certification has a significant positive effect on net income
  • Identify producer attributes that affect net income, and determine whether certified and non-certified producers differ significantly across these attributes, to quantify the relative effects of certification and other factors on net income.

Read the full proposal (~ 2 pages): CertificationResearchProposalMSchweisguthv2

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