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Weak levels of social capital as one of the causes of the fall of Mexican cacao production

TomᚠHes*, Haiyan Sulaiman, Samuel Mintah, José Samuel Banda Arrieta, Billy José Ramírez Esquivel Bc, Tomás Martínez Saldaña, Jaime Antonio Ruiz Hernandez.


Abstract

AIM/BACKGROUND
One of the major motives for dramatic decrease of cacao production is the impact of Moniliophthora roreri, a pathogenous fungus. The problem of Mexican cacao production however could be more complex than just a challenge related to chemical or biological elimination of the fungus. It is a problem of a social and demographic nature, related to cultural practices, age of producers, abandonment of the traditional production manners, which could be understood as a function of dynamics of social capital in the Mexican countryside. The study hence attempts to find a link between social capital and productivity of the producers in a cacao producing region in Central Tabasco, with the goal to illuminate possible strategies for revival of declining traditional sector of production.

METHODS
Data collection took place in February 2016 in municipality C-16 Gral. Emiliano Zapata, Cardenas, in Central Tabasco in South-eastern Mexico, where 101 semi-structured questionnaires with a combination of 50 principal questions entailing 230 subquestions which however include aksi monthly calendars.We compare the production of chosen variables products with four chosen Social Capital indicators, searching for a relationship using Mincer’s regression model through cross sections of data analysis with fixed effects within Ordinary Least Square (OLS) method.

RESULTS
The result point at rather a surprising result of a negligent importance of social capital and productivity of the cacao plantation. The hypothesis on a significant relationship between social capital associated with a producer and rentability of annual production of cacao per hectare cannot be confirmed. In other words, producers that show low level of social connectivity not necessarily have to show lower productivity per hectar, while the productivity is rather dependent on other factors.

CONCLUSION
The cacao belongs to most important agricultural crops worldwide, in recent decades facing increasing demand as well as falling production capacity. The dramatically fall of production of cacao in Mexican agriculture, where it was first domesticated, is becoming a serious concern for diversity of local production, as local producers are substituting cacao plantations with more rentable crops thus giving away a rich genetic as well as agricultural legacy that could under adequate conditions provide a source of income for large region while maintaining the natural diversity. The paper comes to the conclusion that it is collective action and social capital led production set of practices that is crucial for the re-installment and prosperity of the plantations, rather than a single motive such as the recent invasion of Moniliophthora roreri fungus.

Key words: cacao, agricultural output, chocolate, poverty reduction






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