PhD research: Micro and macro analysis of public-private initiatives to curtail market and government failure: the case of coffee cooperatives in the Eastern DRC

October 2019 to September 2023
coffee farming cooperatives
women empowerment
young farmers
Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo
Research fields
Agriculture and Food Sciences
Business and Economics
This study investigates the impact of organic certification on the social and economic sustainability of smallholder coffee cooperative-members in the Kivu and Ituri, Eastern DRC. In 2017/2018  and in 2019, data was collected from 144 households in total, belonging either to the organic-certified CPNCK (Kawa Kenja) or the non-certified Kawa Kanzururu, two NGO-supported cooperatives. Using a difference-in-difference approach, the paper shows improvements for CPNCK regarding received price per ton of Arabica coffee and share of the produce sold to the cooperative. However, labelling the coffee results in lower productivity, lower total production, lower total commercialisation and a smaller share of the farmland dedicated to producing coffee. While organic certification does not appear to influence gross income, the farmers of CPNCK acknowledge coffee was and is very important for their income, while for Kawa Kanzururu importance has diminished. We conclude higher sales prices and increased sales to the cooperative led the farmers of CPNCK not to increase cash crop production. The beneficial impact of achieving the organic certification lies in the increased socio-economic stability, as the farmers of CPNCK enjoy a more secure and stable market access in a fragile and remote socio-political arena.