UTIA Expands Research of Coffee Producer Organizations in Latin America

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Peru Included in Ongoing Research Project with Mexico and Costa Rica

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Carlos Trejo-Pech and Margarita Velandia, associate professor and professor from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, recently visited Peru as part of a comparative research study to evaluate the opportunities and risks faced by coffee producer organizations serving small-scale, economically vulnerable farmers. The trip is part of a larger research project involving coffee producer organizations from Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru.

Trejo-Pech and Velandia visited Lima and the province of Junín, where they met and interviewed Peruvian coffee sector stakeholders. An important player in the coffee sector, Peru ranks among the top 10 coffee-producing countries worldwide in terms of volume.

Further, the researchers are conducting online interviews with coffee cooperative leaders from Mexico and Costa Rica. A preliminary analysis of this research project will be presented at the 64th Annual Conference of the Food Distribution Research Society on November 12-14 in Washington, D.C.

Internal funding for the Peru project was provided by a seed grant from the UTIA Smith Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the Harley and Juanita Travel Fund. “This funding has allowed us to develop multicountry collaborations with researchers, farmers and other stakeholders in the coffee sector,” said lead investigator Trejo-Pech. “This collaboration enriches the analysis and discussions that should ultimately help coffee producer organizations increase long-term sustainability through the team’s recommendations.”

Peruvian research partner Maria Franco Escobar coordinated the visit. Franco Escobar is a monitoring, evaluation and learning specialist of a “specialty coffee community,” a USAID-funded project managed by Central de Organizaciones Productoras de Café y Cacao del Perú/DevWorks International.

This research project is connected to a previously funded project by the Smith Center that focused on evaluating the factors influencing the long-term sustainability of coffee cooperatives in Mexico. Results from this project were published in Agrociencia in January of 2023, available at tiny.utk.edu/3ou5B.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is composed of the Herbert College of Agriculture, UT AgResearch, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, and UT Extension. Through its land-grant mission of teaching, research and Extension, the Institute touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.


Tina M. Johnson

Agricultural and Resource Economics


Carlos Trejo-Pech, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Margarita Velandia, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics