Why organizations matter: certification experiences of coffee producer groups in Guatemala

Heller, Andrew, author
Murray, Douglas, advisor
Stevis, Dimitris, committee member
Browne, Katherine, committee member
Raynolds, Laura, committee member
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Coffee producers are just emerging from a long decade of low prices and oversupply. In response to these problems, many producers organized into groups and sought certifications based on social or environmental standards. This dissertation presents three case studies of producer groups in Guatemala and their experiences with certification in the coffee sector. Using a combination of ethnographic research methods, it argues that both certification systems and producer groups need to adapt so that producers can benefit from the potential gains of certification. Organizations are the focus of the analysis, emphasizing the capabilities necessary for producers to be able to access the benefits of certification. Certification within the coffee sector is a field of research that has implications for development studies, economic sociology, agrofood studies, and globalization. This dissertation concludes that the voices of the producers themselves are a forgotten key to providing organizations, whether of the producers themselves or the organizations that regulate certification, with the tools necessary to meet their goals. This study provides valuable information about the attitudes and interests of small producers in the context of organization and certification.
2010 Spring.
Includes bibliographic references (pages 236-246).
Rights Access
Coffee industry -- Guatemala
Coffee industry -- Certification -- Guatemala
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