Decaf empowerment? Post-Washington Consensus development policy, fair trade and Kenya's coffee industry

Abstract

There has been much debate surrounding the shift in development policy towards the Post-Washington Consensus and its associated Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers. This article seeks to engage critically with and further this literature by considering the concept of empowerment and its role within this consensus through an examination of development policy aimed at farmer empowerment in Kenya. This is investigated with a focus upon coffee producers in the context of Kenya's coffee reforms and the restructuring of the global coffee industry. While acknowledging the limitations of the dominant approach, exacerbated in the African context due to a problematic interpretation of the African state, it is argued that analyses of empowerment should also consider the opportunities for its re-politicisation. Drawing upon Gramscian thought, this article suggests that fair trade initiatives have the potential to offer an alternative approach to farmer empowerment more capable of challenging the concentration of power among roasters and buyers that has taken place within the coffee industry.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Notes

  1. 1.

    The term ‘Washington Consensus’ was originally coined by John Williamson in 1990 to ‘refer to the lowest common denominator of policy advice being addressed by the Washington-based institutions to Latin American countries as of 1989’ (Williamson 2000: 251). However, it has come to represent a narrower set of policies that emphasise liberalisation and the importance of a minimal role for the state. A key moment in the move to a ‘Post-Washington Consensus’ was Stiglitz's WIDER lecture in 1998, in which he sought to establish a new agenda for economic development that recognised the role of governments in making markets work effectively and the need to broaden the goals of development (Stiglitz 1998; see also Fine et al. 2001).

  2. 2.

    The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent non-profit organisation that licenses use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products in the UK and is the UK Member of Fairtrade International.

  3. 3.

    This literature is related to the writings of the sociologist Max Weber, in which he established three ideal types of authority: legal, traditional and charismatic. The term ‘patrimonialism’ is associated with the traditional type, under which ‘obedience is owed not to enacted rules but to the person who occupies a position of authority by tradition’ (cited in Erdmann and Engel 2007: 97).

  4. 4.

    This has recently been abbreviated to Fairtrade International in January 2011.

  5. 5.

    For conventional washed Arabica coffee, at the time of this research, a minimum price of 125 US cents per pound was guaranteed and an additional premium of 10 US cents per pound was paid when the New York price was above the minimum. The minimum price has subsequently risen to 140 US cents per pound and the premium to 20 US cents per pound in March 2011.

  6. 6.

    Some of the interviewees’ names have been withheld to protect confidentiality.

References

  1. Batliwala, Srilatha (2007) ‘Putting Power Back into Empowerment’, http://www.opendemocracy.net/node/34195, (accessed 1 March, 2008).

  2. Bergeron, Suzanne (2003) ‘The Post-Washington Consensus and Economic Representations of Women in Development at the World Bank’, International Feminist Journal of Politics 5 (3): 397–419.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Brock, Karen, Andrea Cornwall and John Gaventa (2001) ‘Power, Knowledge and Political Spaces in the Framing of Poverty Policy’, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, IDS Working Paper 143.

  4. Brown, Ed and Jonathan Cloke (2004) ‘Neoliberal Reform, Governance and Corruption in the South: Assessing the International Anti-Corruption Crusade’, Antipode 36 (2): 272–94.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Burawoy, Michael (1999) Ethnography Unbound: Power and Resistance in the Modern Metropolis, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Burawoy, Michael (2001) ‘Manufacturing the Global’, Ethnography 2 (2): 147–59.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Carmody, Pádraig (2007) Neoliberalism, Civil Society and Security in Africa, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Chambers, Robert (1997) Whose Reality Counts? Putting the First Last, London: International Technology Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Cooke, Bill and Uma Kothari (2001) ‘The Case For Participation as Tyranny’, in Bill Cooke and Uma Kothari, eds, Participation: The New Tyranny?, 1–15, London: Zed Books.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Cornwall, Andrea (2000) ‘Beneficiary, Consumer, Citizen: Perspectives on Participation for Poverty Reduction’, Sida Studies No. 2, Stockholm, Swedish International Development Agency.

  11. Cox, Robert (1986) ‘Social Forces, States and World Orders’, in Robert Keohane, ed., Neorealism and its Critics, 204–49, New York: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Cox, Robert (1987) Production, Power and World Order, New York: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Cox, Robert (1999) ‘Civil Society at the Turn of the Millennium: Prospects for an Alternative World Order’, Review of International Studies 25 (1): 3–28.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Craig, David and Doug Porter (2003) ‘Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers: A New Convergence’, World Development 31 (1): 53–69.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Daviron, Benoit and Stefano Ponte (2005) The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development, London: Zed Books.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Eagleton, Terry (1991) Ideology, London: Verso.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Erdmann, Gero and Ulf Engel (2007) ‘Neopatrimonialism Reconsidered: Critical Review and Elaboration of an Elusive Concept’, Commonwealth and Comparative Politics 45 (1): 95–119.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. FLO (2006) Why Fairtrade: An Explanation of Fairtrade and its Objectives, Bonn: Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International.

  19. Fine, Ben, Costas Lapavitsas and Jonathon Pincus (2001) ‘Preface’, in Ben Fine, Costas Lapavitsas and Jonathon Pincus, eds, Development Policy in the Twenty-First Century: Beyond the Post-Washington Consensus, x–xvi, London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Fitter, Robert and Raphael Kaplinsky (2001) ‘Can an Agricultural “Commodity” Be De-Commodified, and if so, Who Is to Gain?’, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies. IDS Discussion Paper 380.

  21. Fraser, Alastair (2005) ‘Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers: Now Who Calls the Shots?’ Review of African Political Economy 104 (5): 317–40.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Fridell, Gavin (2007) Fair Trade Coffee: The Prospects and Pitfalls of Market-Driven Social Justice, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Gibbon, Peter and Stefano Ponte (2005) Trading Down: Africa, Value Chains and the Global Economy, Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Gitau, Raphael, Simon Kimenju, Betty Kibaara, James Nyoro, Michael Bruntrup and Roukayatou Zimmermann (2009) Agricultural Policy-Making in Sub-Saharan Africa: Kenya's Past Policies, Nairobi: Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Gramsci, Antonio (1971) Selections from the Prison Notebooks, London: Lawrence and Wishart.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Gresser, Charis and Sophia Tickell (2002) Mugged: Poverty in Your Coffee Cup, London: Oxfam International.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Harriss, John (2002) Depoliticizing Development: The World Bank and Social Capital, London: Leftword Books.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Harrod, Jeffrey (1987) Power, Production and the Unprotected Worker, New York: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Hickey, Samuel (2002) ‘Transnational NGDOs and Participatory Forms of Rights-Based Development: Converging with the Local Politics of Citizenship in Cameroon’, Journal of International Development 14 (6): 841–57.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Hickey, Samuel and Giles Mohan, eds (2004) Participation: From Tyranny to Transformation?, London: Zed Books.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Hickey, Samuel and Giles Mohan (2008) ‘The Politics of Establishing Pro-Poor Accountability: What Can Poverty Reduction Strategies Achieve?’, Review of International Political Economy 15 (2): 234–58.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Jaffee, Daniel (2007) Brewing Justice: Fair Trade Coffee, Sustainability, and Survival, California: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Jessop, Bob (1982) The Capitalist State: Marxist Theories and Methods, Oxford: Robertson.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Jessop, Bob (2005) ‘Gramsci as a Spatial Theorist’, Critical Review of International Studies and Political Philosophy 8 (4): 421–37.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Jessop, Bob and Ngai-Ling Sum (2006) ‘Towards a Cultural Political Economy: Poststructuralism and the Italian School’, in Marieke De Goede, ed., International Political Economy and Poststructural Politics, 157–76, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Karanja, Andrew (2004) Policy Notes: Coffee Sub-Sector in Kenya, Nairobi: World Bank.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Karanja, Andrew and James Nyoro (2002) Coffee Prices and Regulation and their Impact on Livelihoods of Rural Community in Kenya, Nairobi: Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Kenya Economic Survey (2009) ‘Kenya Economic Survey 2009 Highlights’, http://www.knbs.or.ke/publications/ES2009MinisterPresentation.pdf?SQMSESSID=101561fb04e4511cde553e35a3da421e, (accessed 7 May, 2012).

  39. Klugman, Jeni, ed. (2002) A Sourcebook for Poverty Reduction Strategies, Washington DC: World Bank.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Leal, Pablo Alejandro (2007) ‘Participation: The Ascendancy of a Buzzword in a Neoliberal Era’, Development in Practice 17 (4–5): 539–48.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Le Mare, Ann (2008) ‘The Impact of Fair Trade on Social and Economic Development: A Review of the Literature’, Geography Compass 2 (6): 1922–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Light Years IP (2008) Distinctive Values in African Exports, Washington DC: Light Years IP.

  43. Luttlinger, Nina and Gregory Dicum (2006) The Coffee Book: Anatomy of an Industry from Crop to the Last Drop, New York: New York Press.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Mayo, Peter (1999) Gramsci, Friere and Adult Education: Possibilities for Transformative Action, London: Zed Books.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Mbataru, Patrick (2009) The Coffee Crisis: Old Interests, New Interests and Illusions of Development, Köln: Lambert Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Mitlin, Diana, Sam Hickey and Anthony Bebbington (2007) ‘Reclaiming Development? NGOs and the Challenge of Alternatives’, World Development 35 (10): 1699–20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Mkandawire, Thandika (2001) ‘Thinking about Developmental States in Africa’, Cambridge Journal of Economics 25 (3): 289–313.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Mkandawire, Thandika and Charles C. Soludo (1999) Our Continent, Our Future: African Perspectives on Structural Adjustment, Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.

    Google Scholar 

  49. Moore, Mick (2000) ‘Putting Politics into Poverty Reduction? The WDR on Empowerment’, Lecture presented at the Overseas Development Institute, 8 November, London.

  50. Mosley, Paul (2001) ‘Attacking Poverty and the “Post-Washington Consensus”’, Journal of International Development 13 (3): 307–13.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Murunga, Godwin (2007) ‘Governance and the Politics of Structural Adjustment in Kenya’, in Godwin Murunga and Shadrack W. Nasong’o, eds, Kenya: The Struggle for Democracy, London: Zed Books.

    Google Scholar 

  52. Öniş, Ziya and Fikret Şenses (2005) ‘Rethinking the Emergent Post-Washington Consensus’, Development and Change 36 (2): 263–90.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Øyen, Else (2000) Six Questions to the World Bank on WDR 2000/1, Oslo: Centre for Research on Poverty.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Parpart, Jane L., Shirin M. Rai and Kathleen Staudt, eds, (2002) Rethinking Empowerment: Gender and Development in a Global/Local World, London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Petit, Nicolas (2007) ‘Ethiopia's Coffee Sector: A Bitter or Better Future?’ Journal of Agrarian Change 7 (2): 225–63.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Ponte, Stefano (2002) ‘Brewing a Bitter Cup? Deregulation, Quality and the Re-Organisation of Coffee Marketing in East Africa’, Journal of Agrarian Change 2 (2): 248–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Raynolds, Laura T. (2000) ‘Re-Embedding Global Agriculture: The International Organic and Fair Trade Movements’, Agriculture and Human Values 17 (3): 297–309.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Renard, Marie-Christine (2005) ‘Quality Certification, Regulation and Power in Fair Trade’, Journal of Rural Studies 21 (4): 419–31.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Rowlands, Jo (1997) Questioning Empowerment, Oxford: Oxfam.

    Google Scholar 

  60. Ruckert, Arne (2007) ‘Producing Neoliberal Hegemony? A Neo-Gramscian Analysis of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) in Nicaragua’, Studies in Political Economy 79 (Spring): 91–118.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Sandbrook, Richard (1986) ‘The State and Economic Stagnation in Tropical Africa’, World Development 14 (3): 319–332.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Simon, Roger (1991) Gramsci's Political Thought: An Introduction, London: Lawrence and Wishart.

    Google Scholar 

  63. Stiglitz, Joseph (1998) ‘More Instruments and Broader Goals: Moving Towards the Post-Washington Consensus’, WIDER Annual Lecture, Helsinki, Finland.

  64. Tallontire, Anne (2000) ‘Partnerships in Fair Trade: Reflections from a Case Study of Cafédirect’, Development in Practice 10 (2): 166–77.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Tallontire, Anne (2002) ‘Challenges Facing Fair Trade: Which Way Now?’ Small Enterprise Development 13 (3): 12–24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  66. Williams, Glyn (2004) ‘Evaluating Participatory Development: Tyranny, Power and (Re)Politicisation’, Third World Quarterly 25 (3): 557–78.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  67. Williamson, John (2000) ‘What Should the World Bank Think about the Washington Consensus’, The World Bank Research Observer 15 (2): 251–64.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  68. World Bank (1989) Sub-Saharan Africa: From Crisis to Sustainable Growth, Washington DC: World Bank.

  69. World Bank (1994) Adjustment in Africa: Reforms, Results and the Road Ahead, New York: Oxford University Press.

  70. World Bank (1997) World Development Report 1997: The State in a Changing World, New York: Oxford University Press, Published for the World Bank.

  71. World Bank (2000) World Development Report 2000/01: Attacking Poverty, Washington DC: World Bank.

  72. World Bank (2002) Empowerment and Poverty Reduction: A Sourcebook, Washington DC: World Bank.

  73. World Bank (2004) Project Appraisal Document: Kenya's Agricultural Productivity Project, Washington DC: World Bank.

  74. World Bank (2006) Poverty and Social Impact Assessment along the Coffee Value Chain, Nairobi: World Bank.

  75. World Bank (2009) Project Appraisal Document: Kenya's Agricultural Productivity and Agribusiness Project, Washington DC: World Bank.

Cited Interviews

  1. Personal interview with member of Supervisory Committee, Rumukia, Nyeri, 15 July, 2009.

  2. Personal interview with Factory Manager, Rumukia, Nyeri, 15 July, 2009.

  3. Personal interview with Andrew Karanja, Task Team Leader, KAPP, World Bank, Nairobi, 25 June, 2009.

  4. Personal interview with John Muriuki, Secretary-Manager, Rumukia, Nyeri, 11 June, 2009.

  5. Personal interview with Charles Nzioka, Sustainable Management Services, Nyeri, 10 July, 2009.

  6. Personal interview with Robert Thou, Agronomist, African Wildlife Foundation, Nyeri, 6 July, 2009.

  7. Personal interview with Richard Wahome, Regional Manager, CBK, Nyeri, 14 July, 2009.

Download references

Acknowledgements

I am very grateful to Magnus Ryner, Jill Steans, and the editors and anonymous reviewers at JIRD for detailed comments and advice on earlier versions of this article.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Pflaeger, Z. Decaf empowerment? Post-Washington Consensus development policy, fair trade and Kenya's coffee industry. J Int Relat Dev 16, 331–357 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1057/jird.2012.17

Download citation

Keywords

  • coffee
  • empowerment
  • fair trade
  • Kenya
  • Post-Washington Consensus
  • World Bank