To work alone or with peers: Examining smallholder coffee farmers’ perceptions influencing collective actions
This study examines how smallholder coffee farmers’ perceptions may influence their engagement in peer mobilization and collective action. Forty smallholder coffee farmers were interviewed in the Central Highlands region of Peru using a closed-ended instrument. The sample of smallholder farmers was achieved using purposive and snowball sampling methods. Quantitative data on farmers’ attitudes and aspirations regarding working with peers, autonomy, and external support as well as knowledge, skills, and behaviors pertinent to collective actions were collected and analyzed using descriptive and correlational procedures. Key findings indicate farmers perceive a need for external support, feel there are benefits of collective actions, and aspire to work with their peers. Based on the findings, it is recommended that practitioners and farmer group leaders focus training efforts on building smallholders’ knowledge and skills in mobilization, encourage peer association/collective action as a source of external support, and target knowledgeable, skilled and confident farmers to lead collective actions. This study has implications to bolster support for farmer-to-farmer extension and technical assistance systems and inform the identification of leader farmers.
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