GFAR researcher Alexandra Peralta has just returned from Uganda last week. She was in Uganda with colleagues from the Michigan State University to conduct field experiments for the ACIAR project on ‘Developing value chain innovation platforms to improve food security in East and Southern Africa’. In this blog, Alexandra recounts her experience of this field trip.
I just came back after spending 10 days in the field training of our local partners in conducting field experiments in rural Uganda. The objective of the field experiments was to understand the role of trust between the actors of the coffee value chain. How did this idea come about? In 2016 during a set of multi-stakeholder workshops, both – coffee farmers and traders raised the issue of lack of trust among them. Traders accused the farmers of not delivering the quantities and quality required, on the other hand, the farmers argued that traders modify the scales for weighing coffee and always grade the quality of their coffee below its actual quality. Since then Robert Shupp and I start working together on the implementation of trust games in the field with coffee farmers and traders. Economic experiments like these will allow us to measure revealed trust instead of stated trust among the coffee value chain actors.
With the help of our local partners at Makerere University – Prossy Isabikulu, her brilliant master students, Kapchowra District Landcare Chapter (KADLACC), local enumerators, and Cansin Arslan, a PhD student at the University of Gottinghen, we implemented 10 sessions of trust games, together with a risk game and a dictator game, with farmers and traders from the Mt Elgon region in Uganda. Our objective was to measure trust experimentally and use our results to help design interventions aimed at improving trust among value chain actors. Why is this important? Trust is an important economic asset as it allows agents to initiate and maintain cooperation without safeguards. Trust facilitates efficient transactions between actors and this will lead to better outcomes for both farmers and traders in the long run.
To learn more about this project visit https://www.adelaide.edu.au/global-food/research/international-development/value-chain-innovation/