The Relationship between Adoption of Coffee Certification Standards and Productivity in Nyeri County in Kenya


  • Beatrice J. Mugendi Dadan Kimathi University of Technology
  • Risper Orero
  • Evans Mwiti


strategy, productivity, planned change, standards, coffee


Standards have been applied as strategic tools to help organizations increase productivity, and improve competitive advantage. They facilitate free and fair global trade, enhance customer satisfaction through improved quality, open new global markets by preventing trade barriers and increase market share. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between adoption of coffee certification standards; Fairtrade, UTZ, and Rainforest Alliance on coffee productivity in Nyeri County. A cross-sectional study design was used to describe the current situation and establish any relationships between adoption of coffee certification standards and productivity. Researcher administered questionnaires were used to collect data from 270 coffee farmers. Stratified random sampling was used to sample the farmers in each agroecological zone. Productivity was defined as kilograms cherry produced per coffee tree. Data on coffee production and marketing activities for the 2013/2014 coffee year was collected and analyzed into descriptive and inferential statistics. Data was analyzed using non- parametric methods after subjecting it to normality test. The productivity populations were significantly different (p=0.008)with ac2 value of 13.82. Fairtrade was the most prevalent standard at 70.7% adoption rate. The mean coffee productivity resulting from adoption of Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ were 6.38, 4.11 and 5.21 kg cherry per tree respectively. The mean effect of certification to Fairtrade on productivity compared to Rainforest Alliance was significantly different (p=0.01). Agro-ecological zoning did not have a significant effect (p=0.67) on coffee productivity. The mean productivity rank for Fairtrade was significantly different (p=0.02) compared to that for non-Fairtrade with mean productivity of 6.21 and 4.39 kg cherry/tree respectively. Fairtrade combined with Rainforest Alliance had a synergistic effect resulting to increased productivity of 6.78kg per tree compared to the individual standards. The recommendations from the study are:promotion of coffee certification standardsto coffee farmersas a way of improving productivity and further researchon the effects of adoption ofothersustainability standards on coffee productivity and on other crops.


Author Biography

Beatrice J. Mugendi, Dadan Kimathi University of Technology


Institute of Food Bioresources Technology



• Arnould, E., Plastina, A. and Ball, D. (2009a). “Market Disintermediation and Producer Value Capture: The Case of Fair Trade Coffee in Nicaragua, Peru and Guatemala.†Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, 28 (2)186-201

• Bacon, C. (2005). “Confronting the Coffee Crisis: Can Fair Trade, Organic, and Specialty Coffees Reduce Small-Scale Farmer Vulnerability in Northern Nicaragua?â€World Development, 33 (3) 497–511. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2004.10.002

• Beckhard, R. (1969), Organizational Development: Strategies and Models, Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA

• Berndt, C.E.H. (2007). Does Fair Trade Coffee Help The Poor? Evidence From Costa Rica And Guatemala. Mercutus Policy Series No. 11. Mercatus Center. George Mason University. Arlington, VA

• Fisher, A. A., Laing, J. E. and Strocker, J.E. (1998). Handbook for Family Planning, Operation Research Design in Sampling. Population Council, 40-45.

• Beuchelt, T.D. and Zeller, M. (2011). “Profits and poverty: Certification's troubled link for Nicaragua's organic and fairtrade coffee producers,†Ecological Economics, 70: 1316–1324

• Bitzera, V., Franckenb, M. and Glasbergena, P. (2008). “Intersectoral partnerships for a sustainable coffee chain: Really addressing sustainability or just picking (coffee) cherries?†Global Environmental Change, 18:271–284

• Brisson-Banks, C.V. (2010). Managing change and transitions: a comparison of different models and their commonalities, Library Management, (31) 4/5, pp. 241-252. (accessed 5 June, 2015)

• Burns,R. (2000). Introduction to Research Methods (4th edition) French Forest NSW; Longman. Business Excellence Model.

• CIDIN (Centre for International Development Issues Nijmegen), (2014). The Impact of Coffee Certification on Smallholder Farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. The Netherlands.

• CBK (n.d), accessed 28th July, 2014.

• Fair Trade (2013). Fairtrade Theory of Change.,accessed 28th May, 2015.

• Giovannucci, D. and Jason P. with B. Killian, B., Wunderlich, C., Soto, G., Schuller, S., Pinard, F., Schroeder, K. and Vagneron. I. (2008). Seeking Sustainability: COSA Preliminary Analysis of Sustainability Initiatives in the Coffee Sector. Committee on Sustainability Assessment: Winnipeg, Canada. seeking_sustainability.pdf

• Giovannucci, D.S. and Ponte, S. (2005), “Standards as a new form of social contract? Sustainability initiatives in the coffee industryâ€, Food Policy, 30 (3)284-301.

• International Coffee Agreement (2007). 28th July, 2014)

• International Trade Centre (2012). Niche Markets for Coffee: Specialty, Environment and Social Aspects, Geneva: ITC, (Technical paper) Doc. No. SC-12-224.E

• International Trade Centre (ITC) (2011a). Trends in the trade of certified coffee (Technical Paper), Geneva

• International Trade Centre(ITC) (2011b). The Coffee Exporter’s Guide. 3rd Edition. .pp 54-59.

• ISO IEC Guide (2004). accessed 28th July, 2014

• ISO, (2012)., accessed 28th July, 2014.

• Kamau, M. W. Lawrence, M., Ricardo, F. and Ruerd R. (2010). “The Impact of Certification on Smallholder Coffee Farmers in Kenya: The case of ‘UTZ’ certification programâ€. Joint 3rd African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE) and 48th Agricultural Economists Association of South Africa (AEASA) Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, September 19-23, 2010.

• Kotter, J.P. (2007), “Leading change why transformation efforts failâ€, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 85 No. 1, pp. 96-103, myleadership/images/e/e8/Leading_change_-_HBR.PDF (accessed 5 June, 2015)

• KPMG Sustainability (2013). Improving smallholder livelihoods: Effectiveness of certification in coffee, cocoa and cotton. SUSTAINEO, KPMG Advisory N.V

• Lewin, K. (1947). ‘Frontiers in group dynamics’. In Cartwright, D. (Ed.), (1952). Field Theory in Social Science, Social Science Paperbacks. London.

• Matus, Kira J. M. (2009) Standardization, certification and labeling: lessons from theory and practice. Center for International Development at Harvard University.

• Méndez, V.E., Bacon, C. Olson, M. Petchers, S., Herrador, D., Carranza, C., Trujillo, L., Guadarrama-Zugasti, C., Cordón, A. and Mendoza, A. (2010). “Effects of Fair Trade and organic certifications on small scale coffee farmer households in Central America and Mexico.†Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 25 (3): 236 - 251

• Michiel, K., Rijn, F., Tu, V.T.M. and Anh, P.V. (2013). A study into the effects, cost and benefits of implementation modalities of sustainable coffee production in Vietnam, The Sustainable Coffee Conundrum.

• Ministry of Agriculture, (2010). Economic Review of Agriculture.

• Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MOALF) (2014). Economic Review of Agriculture.

• Mintzberg, H. (1988). Generic strategy: Toward a comprehensive framework. Advances in Strategic Management, Greenwich Ct JAI press, pp1–67.

• Nadvi, K., and Wältring, F. (2002). Making sense of global standards. INEF Report 58, Duisburg: Gerhard-Mercator University. 2013/4549/pdf/report58.pdf

• Nyeri County Coffee Taskforce report, 2013

• Panhuysen, S. and Pierrot, J. (2014). Coffee Barometer, Hivos, IUCN Nederland, Oxfam Novib, Solidaridad, WWF.

• Potts, P. (2007). Alternative trade initiatives and income predictability: Theory and evidence from the coffee sector International Institute for Sustainable Development.

• Potts, P., Lynch, M., Wilkings, A., Huppé, G., Cunningham, M. and Voora, V. (2014). The State of Sustainability Initiatives Review, Standards and the Green Economy, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada.

• Rainforest Alliancen.d.; accessed 28th July, 2014

• Raluca, D., Nunn, N. (2014). The Impacts of Fair Trade Certification: Evidence From Coffee Producers in Costa Rica.

• Riisgaard, L., Michuki, G., Peter, G.P., Bolwig, S., Warring, N. and Rantz, L.L. (2009). The Performance of Voluntary Standard Schemes from the Perspective of Small Producers in East Africa, Danish Institute for International Studies for Traidcraft (UK)

• Ronchi, Loraine, (2002). “The Impact of Fair Trade on Producers and Their Organizations: A Case Study with Coocafe in Costa Ricaâ€. PRUS Working Paper No 11, University of Sussex

• Saragih, J.R. (2013). “Socioeconomic and Ecological Dimension of Certified and Conventional Arabica Coffee Production in North Sumatra, Indonesia.†Asian Economic and Social Society, ISSN (P): 2304-1455, ISSN (E): 3 (3) 2224-4433.

• The Coffee Exporter’s Guide. 3rd Edition. (2011). International Trade Centre, Geneva. pp 54-59

• UTZ certified impact report, (2014). Combining results from 24 external impact studies and data fromUTZ Certified.UTZ Certified Communications, The Netherlands.

• Verkaat, S. (2008). Effects of Utz Certified and Fair Trade on coffee producers in Uganda and Tanzania: Certification and the people and profit dimensions of Corporate Social Responsibility. Msc thesis

• White, H. and Carvalho, S. (2004), “Theory-based Evaluation, The Case of Social Fundsâ€, American Journal of Evaluation, 25 (2) 141-160

• World Bank (2006). "Value Chain Analysis of Selected Sectors in Kenya." prepared by Global Development Solutions, Washington, DC.




How to Cite

Mugendi, B. J., Orero, R., & Mwiti, E. (2015). The Relationship between Adoption of Coffee Certification Standards and Productivity in Nyeri County in Kenya. Asian Journal of Business and Management, 3(6). Retrieved from