Weed control practices on Costa Rican coffee farms: is herbicide use necessary for small-scale producers?
2011 (English)In: Agriculture and Human Values, ISSN 0889-048X, E-ISSN 1572-8366, Vol. 28, no 2, 167-177 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This paper presents research conducted duringtwo coffee farming seasons in Costa Rica. The studyexamined coffee farmers’ weed management practices andis presented in the form of a case study of small-scalefarmers’ use of labor and herbicides in weed managementpractices. Over 200 structured interviews were conductedwith coffee farmers concerning their use of hired labor andfamily labor, weed management activities, support services,and expectations about the future of their coffeeproduction. ANOVA and regression analyses describe therelationships between farm size, labor, and herbicide use,and three farm types (i.e., conventional, semi-conventional,and organic). Based on findings regarding the amount oflabor used to manually control weeds on different types offarms (large farms, small conventional, semi-conventional,and organic farms) I am able to challenge small conventionalfarmers’ perceived need for herbicide use. Semistructuredinterviews of coffee farmers and extensionworkers further revealed a dominant role played by agrochemicalcompanies in assisting farmers with productionproblems, and documented a high transaction cost forinformation provided from elsewhere. Chemical companieshire extension workers to visit farmers at their farms, freeof charge, to offer recommendations on how to treat differentpest problems, while government and cooperativeextension agents charge for the service. There is a need toincrease the amount of resources available to the NationalCoffee Institute to fund one-on-one farmer support servicesin order to balance the influence of agro-chemical companyrepresentatives and allow farmers to make better decisionsregarding weed management.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 28, no 2, 167-177 p.
Coffee, Costa Rica, Extension services, Herbicides, Organic, Small-scale farmers, Weed management
Research subject Ecotoxicology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-61857DOI: 10.1007/s10460-010-9261-2ISI: 000290667800002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-61857DiVA: diva2:438185