A Real Option Analysis applied to the production of Arabica and Robusta Coffee in Ecuador

Andres R. Jácome, Alberto Garrido


The coffee market is distinguished for being volatile and uncertain in terms of domestic and international prices. Arabica and Robusta coffee are produced in 23 provinces of Ecuador. A decade-long decline of coffee production prompted the Ecuadorian government to launch a public program for replanting coffee trees towards the end of 2011. A grower’s decision to enter, remain in or exit the coffee sector is based on fluctuating profits from each year’s harvest sale. We analyzed the hypothesis whereby the coffee grower’s decision to leave the sector is explained by volatile and uncertain prices. This paper aimed to evaluate the coffee sector with an application of Real Option Analysis for the period 2002-2012. We also defined entry (H) and exit (L) prices for Arabica and Robusta coffee for the analyzed period. Our findings revealed high H and L prices encourage growers to leave the sector for the most part of the analyzed period. High H and L prices resulted from high variable cost due to increasing wages for farm workers. The Ecuadorian government is developing a policy to help growers make production more efficient, encouraging them to remain in the sector in the long run.


uncertainty, volatility, coffee prices

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2017151-10098