Identifier

etd-04022015-113042

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Agricultural Economics

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Given the environmental concerns on the one hand, especially soil erosion and deforestation, and the hope that the global cocoa market offers on the other hand, cocoa production is a potential candidate to simultaneously guarantee a competitive return to investment for farmers in northern Haiti and mitigate the negative environmental impact of farming practices. It becomes crucial for policy makers and investors to know and understand the key elements of the decision to produce cocoa. Though there has been substantial effort to improve the cocoa sector in Haiti, cocoa production systems in Haiti lag behind in the area of sustainability. To address the lack of information on key criteria farmers rely upon to produce cocoa sustainably, this study identifies factors influencing the sustainable cocoa production adoption decision. The act of adopting sustainable cocoa production in this study is defined by the rehabilitation of old cocoa farms and the establishment of new cocoa plantings that fit into agroforestry management systems. This study also is a first attempt at describing the current state of sustainable cocoa production in Haiti. A qualitative method was used to conduct this research. The approach used was focus groups. Fourteen focus groups and seven individual interviews provided data used to answer the research question. Additionally, a SWOT analysis was conducted on the cocoa sector. Results of the investigation indicate that farm gate price, farm size, property ownership, land configuration and rural infrastructures, networking, and animal feeding practices were key determinants of sustainable cocoa production in northern Haiti. In addition to these factors influencing sustainable cocoa production in northern Haiti, the SWOT analysis identified key elements that constrained or might help with expansion and growth of the cocoa sector. Weaknesses include lack of maintenance and rehabilitation of farms. One of the best opportunities lies in physical proximity to the U.S. market and special trade agreements with favorable buyers from the European Union who are looking for the fine cocoa flavor of the Criollo variety. Black pods, drought and climate change, low producer price and corruption within farmer cooperatives pose the greatest threats.

Date

2015

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Westra, John V

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