AHP choice in cocoa post-harvest technology for small-scale farmers

Autores UPV
Año
Revista Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research

Abstract

Ensuring that the post-harvest process yields good quality cocoa is a relevant research question. However, the literature currently lacks detailed studies of producers¿ criteria for post-harvest technology selection. There is therefore a need for research that examines technology choice based on several criteria. This is the aim of our paper. We defined a cocoa post-harvest technology selection model to assist small producers in Ecuador. To do so, we employed the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) to assess the following criteria: quality, processing cost and technology adoption capability. By considering only quality, we first performed a preliminary assessment of nine post-harvest technologies yielded by all possible combinations of fermentation and drying methods. Under the criterion ¿quality¿, results show that no post-harvest technology is preferable to another. This implies that quality differences between producers do not derive from technology choice but rather from the rigour with which producers perform fermentation and drying processes. After adding the criteria ¿processing cost¿ and ¿technology adoption capability¿, we performed the analysis again. This multi-criteria approach offered a better way to approximate small farmers¿ real needs when selecting technology for cocoa post-harvest. Although quality was the highest-valued criterion, high scores attributed to some technologies in the other two criteria offset scores for quality. Thus, processing cost and technology adoption also emerged as relevant factors for small holders.