UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"Market" participation for development and environmental sustainability : Costa Rican dairy markets and payments for ecosystem services Anderson, Emily Kathryn


Producer participation in markets, including modernized food value chains (MFVCs) and conservation programs like payments for environmental services (PES), is promoted for both human development and environmental sustainability. Participation can benefit farmers but there are concerns that limiting producer choice and concentrating power with intermediaries could have negative consequences for wellbeing and sustainability. PES and MFVCs have similarities for participating producers, suggesting scope for cross-pollination and insight. However, the literatures remain largely separate, tend to consider a narrow set of indicators, and produce mixed results. This dissertation explores the following questions in the case of dairy farmers in Costa Rica: (1) How and when can producer participation in intermediary-driven food and environmental value chains lead to positive outcomes for wellbeing and sustainability? (2) How and when is it useful to consider PES and food value chains together? Using statistical and qualitative methods with 217 household surveys and 23 key informant interviews, this dissertation assesses how indicators of human wellbeing, broadly conceived, and agricultural practices differ between farms supplying MFVCs versus traditional dairy value chains, and between those who are and are not participating in PES. Chapter 2 uses an adaptive capacity framing to show that Costa Rican producers selling in MFVCs were likely better equipped to manage change than those selling in traditional markets. Chapter 3 provides evidence that wellbeing in MFVCs also varied between value chains: those selling via a multinational cooperative appear substantially better off than those selling to a private processor. Chapter 4 presents evidence that PES participants experienced limited material wellbeing benefits from participation; rather, values appeared to be an important motivator for many. Chapter 5 examines correlations between the use of more sustainable agricultural practices and participation in MFVCs and PES. MFVCs appear to be a stronger force than environmental values in shaping farm management choices. This dissertation highlights the value of a broad approach to wellbeing that considers non-material benefits and motivations alongside material ones. Considering Costa Rican PES and dairy market participation together highlights intermediaries and producer-intermediary relationships as important in influencing human and environmental outcomes when farmers participate in MFVCs and PES.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International