Compliance with various food safety standards has continued to gain significance in the international agri-food trade arena. Although considered voluntary, farmers involved in agri-trade have to comply with the safety standards to access international markets. One of the private food safety standards that Kenyan horticultural farmers have to adopt to remain in production is the GLOBALGAP (formerly EUREPGAP). Past empirical studies indicate that smallholder horticultural farmers in the country are especially disadvantaged by the GLOBALGAP since majority of them lack the capacity to undertake the costly investments involved and appropriate financing mechanisms are not readily available. Already there is evidence that some smallholder horticultural farmers have exited the lucrative export market due to inability to comply with this standard.
Smallholder farmers in Kenya can comply with the GLOBALGAP either through exporter-individual farmer (private) partnerships or group-based institutional arrangements. Currently, there is no evidence of factors driving farmers to choose any of these arrangements or any other compliance mechanism. It is also not known how the choice of each arrangement impacts on livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Although compliance with the standards is viewed to have a positive effect on income derived from farming business, there exist no dynamic financial and economic cost-benefit analyses (CBAs) to justify its viability. Moreover, it is not currently possible to deduce whether farmers’ livelihoods improve after complying.
1. Identify and characterize distinct compliance mechanisms or institutional arrangements, including their mechanisms to finance compliance.
2. Analyze factors driving farmers to comply with standards through different compliance mechanisms or institutional arrangements.
3. Analyze viability of complying with food safety standards through different institutional arrangements. This involves analyzing both financial and economic viability when farmers comply with the standards.
4. Analyze the impact of food safety standards on livelihood outcomes of smallholder farmers. This will entail assessment of livelihood outcomes when smallholder farmers comply with food safety standards and also when they exit export business due to failure to comply with the standards.
5. Build and enhance capacity of scientists, farmers, middlemen, extension agencies, development practitioners from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and policy makers in order to realize a vibrant horticultural industry that has a positive impact on smallholders’ livelihoods.