Market Assessment

Knowledge Management, Learning and Communication in Value Chains - Case of Specialty Coffee in Ecuador, CIAT 2007

    The study focuses on the theoretical background of knowledge management in value chains and the application of the concepts on the case of FAPECAFES (Ecuador). The purpose was to formulate a better understanding of the role and costs of knowledge management, learning and communication in value chains and their impact on farmers' ability to integrate successfully into high value markets. FAPECAFES is a smallholder coffee growers' association in the southern highlands of Ecuador. The case study contains the analysis of information needs, know-how, communication and knowledge flows, as well as the assessment of transaction and opportunity costs.

    The latest addition to this entry is a summary in French (right) and an update on the website link.

    Summary of results
    - Different stakeholders of the value chain "coffee" have different information needs in order to take strategic decisions.
    - There exists a broad pool of information and knowledge that is poorly managed.
    - Knowledge and communication flows are often interrupted or disturbed.
    - Due to geographical distances and poor communication and transport infrastructure, transaction costs tend to be relatively high in FAPECAFES.
    - Consequently, knowledge management costs that further increase the actual transaction costs, are critical.
    - Closed communication loops are essential to feed back key information and enhance strategic decision making.
    - The use of media in rural areas can be very costly and may even multiply the actual transaction costs for farmers' organizations.
    - Farmers' decision to participate and take part as an active member of their organization is determined by economy of scale: low productivity rates and volumes increase the investment costs of farmers and their organizations.