Quality Incentives and the Development of High-value Agrifood Markets: Ecuador's Cacao Marketing Chain
Jano, Pilar Alejandra
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This thesis explores constraints to the development of markets for high quality cacao in Ecuador. It focuses on the role of market level constraints, particularly the transmission of quality incentives along the marketing chain and their effects on farmersâ incentives to invest in quality production. Chapter 1 introduces the reader to the problem, demonstrating that Ecuadorian farmers are not responding to international incentives to produce high quality cacao, and outlines the objectives, hypotheses, and structure of the thesis. Chapter 2 provides background to the market, detailing Ecuadorâ s role in world commodity and high-value cacao markets and gives a detailed description of the cacao market in Ecuador. Chapter 3 uses a subsector analysis to develop and test hypotheses that specific market level constraints, such as transaction costs, market power, and institutional constraints, impede the transmission of incentives to produce quality to farmers. The subsector analysis failed to support the hypotheses that intermediaries are able to exert market power but found that transaction costs and weak institutions presented significant constraints to the transmission of quality incentives. Chapter 4 examines the determinants of farmersâ market channel choice and the prices that they receive. In addition to determinants that are commonly found in the literature, such as the characteristics of the transaction and farmerâ s characteristics, hypotheses testing of quality incentives makes a unique contribution. Analysis of survey data of Ecuadorian farmers found minimal transmission of quality incentives to farmersâ only the cultivar Nacional as a quality indicator was found to affect the farmersâ market channel choice out of six indicators selected to represent quality. The quality indicators selected were pre- and post-harvest practices, variety, having received technical assistance, credit, belonging to a cacao association, and discounts at sale by the buyer. Also, pre- and post-harvest practices, having received credit, and belonging to a cacao association out of similar quality indicators were found to affect the price paid to the farmer. Finally, Chapter 5 summarizes the main points discovered through the research, discusses policy implications, and proposes further research needs.
- Masters Theses