Saturday, January 15, 2022

106. Two New Research Papers on Rwanda Coffee Supply Chain

Two new papers from lead author Andrew Gerard address current issues in Rwanda that are representative of the complexities faced in coffee supply chains across the world. Exporter business approaches and government regulations on the local market for cherry are long-standing challenges for coffee buyers to understand. These papers give a helpful, objective review through an academic lens and offer new perspectives on Rwanda's situation specifically.

Gerard brings personal passion and first-hand experience to the research presented. He was a member of the influential Africa Great Lakes Coffee coffee project, 2015 - 2018, which was funded by USAID's Feed the Future campaign.

1. Paper: "Relational contracts and value chain governance: exporter approaches to overcoming transaction costs in Rwanda’s coffee sector" [ ] plugs a gap in the literature that has been personally frustrating to us at Artisan in our efforts to understand Rwanda's issues. For the first time that we are aware, Gerard has focused on the exporter landscape of the country, classified them into three groups and described their differences: foreign-owned private exporters, Rwandan-owned private exporters and Rwandan cooperatively-owned exporters. The findings include insights that multi-national exporters did not find competition to be a major problem, instead, and in contrast to Rwandan exporters, high cherry prices were most frequently mentioned as their biggest concern. Relative to other respondents, foreign exporters claimed that Rwanda's zoning policy negatively impacted business. "Most said that there is high competition and side-selling, implying that they believe zoning has been unsuccessful."

2. Paper: "Do government zoning policies improve buyer-farmer relationships? Evidence from Rwanda’s coffee sector"
Rwanda’s government implemented a zoning policy in its coffee industry.
•Mixed methods are used to analyze how zoning affected buyer-farmer relationships.
•Buyers were more likely to give farmers bonuses where zoning was well-implemented.
•We do not find evidence that zoning increased coffee farmer investment.
•Buyers believed that zoning improved their relationships with farmers.
  • For CWSs that did not credit zoning or requests from government for their decisions to provide second payments, the primary reason for providing them was wanting to motivate farmers to invest in their coffee. Additional farmer investment would allow for greater productivity and more coffee for CWSs, which is helpful because they cannot purchase coffee from outside of their zones. Other reasons for providing second payments included profit sharing being an obligation of cooperatives and provision of second payments being expected in their region.
Both papers are originally part of Gerard's Ph.D. dissertation for the department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University.

[We apologize, we are unable to make the full-text of these papers available on our website/blog. If you have an account with Elsevier or Emerald Insight, you will be able to find these papers. If you do not have an account, you will have to pay for access. Use the links below.]

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