Coffee co-operatives in Malawi: building resilience through innovation

Borda-Rodriguez, Alexander and Vicari, Sara (2015). Coffee co-operatives in Malawi: building resilience through innovation. Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, 86(2) pp. 317–338.




This article focuses on the role played by innovation in the context of coffee co-operatives. It shows how interconnected forms of innovation contribute to co-operative resilience. Data was collected from the largest coffee co-operative Union in Malawi and illustrates how coffee co-operatives have innovated in order to cope with organizational and market constrains. We identify four areas of innovation: sustainable technologies, development of market niches, women’s inclusion and business diversification. The combination of these forms of innovation contributes to co-operative resilience in different degrees, the article also analyzes how innovation is influenced and driven by co-operative’s values and principles and by partnerships with national and international actors.

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