Building Self-reliance: A Framework to Evaluate Smallholder Coffee Farmers’ Pursuit of Commercialization 

Colby J. Silvert

John Diaz

Laura A. Warner

T. Grady Roberts

University of Florida

 Raul Injoque 

Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas


This study examines the application of a self-reliance framework for practitioners and evaluators to better understand the capacities and intrinsic factors impacting smallholder coffee farmers’ commercialization behaviors. We surveyed 40 smallholder coffee producers in Peru using a quantitative instrument. Data were analyzed to determine if statistical relationships exist between farmers’ self-reliance (measured via knowledge and skills, attitudes, and aspirations) and their commercialization behaviors. Findings indicate the self-reliance framework effectively illustrates relationships between farmers’ aspirations, knowledge and skills and their commercialization behaviors, while future, additional studies are needed to better measure and understand the role of commercialization-related attitudes. Practitioners can leverage the study’s findings by using a self-reliance framework to infer farmers’ likeliness to pursue sustainable commercialization practices and align their trainings and design interventions based on evaluation findings. The conceptual self-reliance framework is the first of its kind applied for smallholder coffee commercialization. The findings demonstrate that self-reliance concepts employed recently in other contexts may potentially be used similarly by extension and development facilitators.

Keywords: coffee, commercialization, external facilitator, Peru, self-reliance, smallholder


Acknowledgement: Logistical and intellectual support for this study were provided by partners in Peru from the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas and the Shared-X company: Ivan Loyola, Joel Barboza, Rosalina Cuchca, and Jimy Lovato. Additionally, Dr. Glenn Israel, Vanessa Campoverde, and Francisco Rivera of the University of Florida contributed to the development and translation of the instrument.

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