An interesting report from 2009 “The Performance of Voluntary Standard Schemes from the Perspective of Small Producers in East Africa“.
The objective of this study was to establish a better understanding of the performance of
different voluntary standard schemes from the perspective of small producers in East Africa.
The study compared small scale producers’ perceptions of the impacts of certification to
Fairtrade, UTZ Certified and Rainforest Alliance standards. The study covered tea and coffee growers in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. It also solicited small scale producers’ views on how the standards under investigation could be improved upon.
In short, the results reported here suggest the following conclusions:
- Participation in the standards schemes examined was perceived to lead to marked improvements in income and in farm management, relative to previous situations of non-participation. In most schemes additional benefits were also perceived, although their content varied from one scheme to another.
- Participants in a Fairtrade/organic scheme were better off than participants in UTZ/organic scheme in the one direct quantitative comparison made, which also suggested that the Fairtrade/organic scheme had a larger welfare impact.
- Scheme participants’ suggestions for improvements to their scheme often focussed on the provision of a wider range of services.
- Scheme managers’ observations tended to be more critical and identified a lack of local price competitiveness as a short-term problem and limited or unstable demand and sustainability of certification costs as longer-term ones.
Apart from the sustainability of costs, these observations applied equally to Fairtrade, UTZand Rainforest Alliance schemes.