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Do agricultural certification schemes benefit producers and workers in developing countries?


Certification schemes set and monitor voluntary standards to make agricultural production socially sustainable and agricultural trade fairer for producers and workers.

This paper presents the results of a systematic review to assess whether certification schemes work for the wellbeing of agricultural producers and workers in low- and middle income countries.

The results of the review are based on 43 studies used for analysing quantitative effects, and a meta-ethnography of 136 qualitative studies for synthesizing barriers, enablers and other contextual factors. The reviews findings regarding the effect of certification schemes on prices, agricultural income, household income, wages, school attendance and illness will be presented.


Carlos Oya is a Reader in Political Economy of Development at SOAS, University of London. He has also lectured at the University Eduardo Mondlane in Mozambique, Universidad Complutense (Madrid), and at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. He worked for several years in government in Mozambique, where he also did extensive field research on rural labour markets and rural poverty.

Florian Schäfer is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Development Studies at SOAS, University of London, from where he also obtained his PhD. His main research interests are the political economy of industrialisation and agrarian change, the development of entrepreneurship and labour markets, and empirical research methods. Much of this research focuses on Ethiopia, where Florian has lived and worked in for several years.


Kristin Komives is ISEAL's Director of Impacts. She joined ISEAL to set up a monitoring and evaluation system for the ISEAL Secretariat. She manages ISEAL’s work on the impacts of sustainability standards. She also provides support to ISEAL members in the development of their own monitoring and evaluation systems. Previously she was Senior Lecturer at the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

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