Organic Agriculture

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 417–433 | Cite as

Organic certified production systems and household income: micro level evidence of heterogeneous treatment effects

  • Oscar Ingasia AyuyaEmail author


This article provides empirical evidence on heterogeneous effects of local market-oriented organic vegetable and honey certification schemes on household income, thereby identifying who benefits most from the schemes in Kenya. Proliferation of pro-poor local market-oriented certified organic production systems in developing countries justifies the need for the study to inform research and policy perspective. The study uses stratification multilevel and matching-smoothing approach in estimating heterogeneous treatment effects that controls for pretreatment heterogeneity bias and treatment effect heterogeneity bias. Findings were that despite the objective of certified organic vegetable production program to improve the income of socially and economically disadvantaged farmers, the farmers with higher propensity scores benefited most. Farmers across all propensity score strata significantly benefited in organic honey production system. Moderate socially and economically advantaged farmers benefited most from certified organic honey certification. To policy makers and program planners, implicit assumption of homogenous effect of organic certification does not always hold. Program design could play important role in enhancing effectiveness of agricultural interventions in achieving higher income among the poor.


Organic certification Heterogeneous treatment effect Homogeneous effect Pro-poor Kenya 



The author are grateful to German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Award Number A/12/94962 for their financial support in conducting this study. The dedicated enumerators and two anonymous contact persons are highly acknowledged for the high-quality data collected. Much appreciation also goes to the farmers for their time and cooperation throughout the fieldwork.

Author’s contributions

OI conceived the idea in the study and partook in its design, data collection, drafting, and approval of the final submitted manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Competing interests

The author declares that he has no competing interests.


  1. Altonji JG, Elder TE, Taber CR (2005) Selection on observed and unobserved variables: assessing the effectiveness of Catholic schools. J Polit Econ 113(1):151–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Altonji JG, Elder TE, Taber CR (2008) Using selection on observed variables to assess bias from unobservables when evaluating Swan-Ganz catherization. Am Econ Rev 98(2):345–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Asfaw S, Mithöfer D, Waibel H (2009) Investment in compliance with GlobalGAP standards: does it pay off for small-scale producers in Kenya? Q J Int Agric 48(4):337–362Google Scholar
  4. Ayuya OI, Gido EO, Bett HK, Lagat JK, Kahi AK, Bauer S (2015) Effect of certified organic production systems on poverty among smallholder farmers: empirical evidence from Kenya. World Dev 67:27–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Becker SO, Ichino A (2002) Estimation of average treatment effects based on propensity scores. Stata J 2:358–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bello M, Abdulai A (2017) The use of a hybrid latent class approach to identify consumer segments and market potential for organic products in Nigeria. Agribusiness 00:1–14Google Scholar
  7. Beuchelt T, Zeller M (2011) Profits and poverty: certification’s troubled link for Nicaragua’s organic and fairtrade coffee producers. Ecol Econ 70(7):1316–1324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blackman A, Naranjo MA (2012) Does eco-certification have environmental benefits? Organic coffee in Costa Rica. Ecol Econ 83:58–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bolwig S, Gibbon P, Jones S (2009) The economics of smallholder organic contract farming in tropical Africa. World Dev 37(6):1094–1104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brand JE, Xie Y (2010) Who benefits most from college? Evidence for negative selection in heterogeneous economic returns to higher education. Am Sociol Rev 75(2):273–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fort R, and Ruben R (2009) The impact of Fair Trade on banana producers in northern Peru. Contributed paper prepared for presentation at the International Association of Agricultural Economists Conference, Beijing, China, August 16-22, 2009Google Scholar
  12. Galu G, Kere J, Funk C, and Husak G (2010) Case study on understanding food security trends and development of decision- support tools and their impact on vulnerable livelihood in East Africa. United Nations Global Assessment Report IIGoogle Scholar
  13. Graffham, A., E. Karehu, and J. MacGregor. 2007. Impact of EurepGAP on small-scale vegetable growers in Kenya. Fresh Insights No. 6, London: IIED, 2007Google Scholar
  14. Grootaert C (1999) Social capital, household welfare and poverty in Indonesia. Local Level Institutions Study, Working Paper No. 6, Social Development Department, World Bank, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  15. Haggar J, Soto G, Casanoves F, Virginio E (2017) Environmental-economic benefits and trade-offs on sustainably certified coffee farms. Ecol Indic 79:330–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hattam CE, Lacombe DJ, Halloway GJ (2012) Organic certification, export market access and the impacts of policy: Bayesian estimation of avocado smallholder “time- to-organic certification” in Michoacan Mexico. Agric Econ 43:441–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hausman J (2001) Mismeasured variables in econometric analysis: problems from the right and problems from the left. J Econ Perspect 15(4):57–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Heckman JJ, Vytlacil EJ (2005) Structural equations, treatment effects and econometric policy evaluation. Econometrica 73:669–738CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. ICIPE (International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology) (2013) Linking insects to forest conservation through honey and silk. In: WRENmedia Google Scholar
  20. IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements). 2013. Productivity and profitability of organic farming systems in East Africa. Bonn, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  21. Kamau MW, Mose L, Fort R, and Ruben R (2010) The impact of certification on smallholder coffee farmers in Kenya: the case of ‘UTZ’ certification program. Contributed paper presented at the joint 3rd African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE) and 48th Agricultural Economists Association of South Africa (AEASA) conference, Cape Town, South Africa, September 19–23, 2010Google Scholar
  22. Karki L, Schleenbecker R, Hamm U (2011) Factors influencing a conversion to organic farming in Nepalese tea farms. J Agric Rural Dev Trop Subtrop 112(2):113–123Google Scholar
  23. Kersting S, Wollni M (2012) New institutional arrangements and standard adoption: evidence from small-scale fruit and vegetable farmers in Thailand. Food Policy 37:452–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kleemann L, Abdulai A (2013) Organic certification, agro-ecological practices and return on investment: evidence from pineapple producers in Ghana. Ecol Econ 93:330–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kleemann L (2011) Organic pineapple farming in Ghana - a good choice for smallholders? Kiel working papers 1671, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  26. Mathenge M, Place F, Olwande J, and Mitoefer D (2010) Participation in agricultural markets among the poor and marginalized: analysis of factors influencing participation and impacts on income and poverty in Kenya. Study report prepared for the FORD FoundationGoogle Scholar
  27. Mutuc M, Rejesus RM, Yorobe JM Jr (2013) Which farmers benefit the most from Bt corn adoption? Estimating heterogeneity effects in the Philippines. Agric Econ 44:231–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nhemachena C, and Hassan R (2007) Micro-level analysis of farmers’ adaptation to climate change in Southern Africa. IFPRI Discussion Paper No. 00714. International Food Policy Research Institute. Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  29. Oelofse M, Høgh-Jensen H, Abreu LS, Almeida GF, Hui AQY, de Neergaard A (2010) Certified organic agriculture in China and Brazil: market accessibility and outcomes following adoption. Ecol Econ 69:1785–1793CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Probst L, Houedjofonon E, Ayerakwa HM, Haas R (2012) Will they buy it? The potential for marketing organic vegetables in the food vending sector to strengthen vegetable safety: a choice experiment study in three West African cities. Food Policy 37:296–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Qiao Y, Halberg N, Vaheesan S and Scott S (2015) Assessing the social and economic benefits of organic and fair trade tea production for small-scale farmers in Asia: a comparative case study of China and Sri Lanka. Renew Agric Food Syst 1–12Google Scholar
  32. Raina SK, Kioko EN, Gordon I, Nyandiga C (2009) Improving forest conservation and community livelihoods through income generation from commercial insects in three Kenyan forests. Nairobi, Kenya: ICIPE. Science PressGoogle Scholar
  33. Rejesus RM, Palis FG, Rodriguez DGP, Lampayan R, Bouman BA (2011) Impact of the Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) irrigation technique: evidence from rice producers in the Philippines. Food Policy 36(2):280–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rosenbaum PR, Rubin DB (1983) The central role of the propensity score in observational studies for causal effects. Biometrika 70(1):41–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ruben R, Fort R (2012) The impact of Fair Trade certification for coffee farmers in Peru. World Dev 40(3):570–582CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Subervie J, Vagneron I (2013) A drop of water in the Indian Ocean? The impact of GlobalGap certification on lychee farmers in Madagascar. World Dev 50:57–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Thapa GB, Rattanasuteerakul K (2011) Adoption and extent of organic vegetable farming in Mahasarakham province, Thailand. Appl Geogr 31:201–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tumbo SD, Mutabazi KD, Masuki KFG, Rwehumbiza FB, Mahoo HF, Nindi SJ, Mowo JG (2013) Social capital and diffusion of water system innovations in the Makanya watershed, Tanzania. J Socio-Econ 43:24–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Willer, H, M. Rohwedder, and E. Wynen. 2009. Organic agriculture worldwide: current statistics, in: Willer, H., Kilcher, L. (Eds.) The world of organic agriculture. Statistics and emerging trends 2009. FIBL-IFOAM Report. IFOAM, Bonn; FiBL, Frick; ITC, Geneva, pp. 25–58Google Scholar
  40. Xie Y (2007) Otis Dudley Duncan’s legacy: the demographic approach to quantitative reasoning in social science. Res Soc Stratification Mobil 25:141–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Xie Y, Brand JE, Jann B (2012) Estimating heterogeneous treatment effects with observational data. Sociol Methodol 42:314–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness ManagementEgerton UniversityEgertonKenya

Personalised recommendations