Future-proofing coffee production in Peru: the impact of network linkages on small-scale coffee producers in Cajamarca's highlands
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Coffee is one of the most popular beverages globally, especially so in the wealthy industrialised nations. However, small-scale farmers in the South that cultivate this ‘black gold’ are exposed to economic as well as environmental risks and uncertainties, in the form of sudden price fluctuations and the intensifying impacts of climate change on their livelihood. In Peru, coffee is an important source of employment and income for many, especially in the rural areas; at the same time, Peru is highly vulnerable to impacts of climate change, set to especially affect the poor and those dependent on agriculture, and has suffered political instability in recent decades which contributes to a weak institutional environment. This study focuses on the impacts of climate change experienced by small-scale coffee farmers, and the degree to which their participation in networks affects their know-how and adaptive capacity. Specifically, it covers the role of internal and external social capital in knowledge and technology transfer, focusing on the knowledge networks formed by cooperatives and certifications. It seeks to understand which opportunities for livelihood sustainability and climate-change adaptation can be found in cooperative participation and voluntary standard adoption, and which challenges cooperative organisations experience in terms of achieving sustainable governance and farm management against the backdrop market demands, environmental threats and shifting institutional arrangements. The research was conducted through in-depth interviews with coffee farmers, cooperative management and technical staff, as well as representatives from the local government, national coffee sector organisations and (I)NGOs.