Innovation Trajectories in Honduras' Coffee Value Chain. Public and Private Influence on the Use of New Knowledge and Technology among Coffee Growers

Frank Hartwich, Ingrid Fromm, Gustavo Romero



In this paper, results from a study on the use of improved coffee production technology schemes among smallholder coffee producers in three prominent coffee producing regions in Honduras are presented. The impact of various schemes (trajectories) in which different agents influence the producers’ decision to use new technologies was analyzed. In particular, there are differences in the influence of a) private coffee buying organizations and b) government and public development agencies on the innovation behavior of coffee growers. Drawing from network data that depict the internal and outbound connectedness of producers in three village communities in main coffee producing zones in Honduras, tools of social network analysis were applied to find out how interactions with certain agents, separately and cumulatively, has influenced their use of improved methods in coffee production and marketing. The results suggest that there are significant differences in the way that various providers of knowledge and technology, especially private buyers and development agencies, influence the farmers’ behavior towards innovation. The influence of buyers, according to the data, is focused on certification and quality aspects, whereas development agents focus on improved agronomic practices. Farmers who communicate with the extension branch of input providers tend to be more innovative. These results suggest that development programs should take more seriously into account the role of private actors in innovation among agricultural producers and, hence, design development programs in such a way to allow for collaboration with these agents.


coffee production; innovation; upgrading; social networks; Honduras

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ISSN 1869-6945


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