Embeddedness of Syngenta’s potato and related crop protection business in Colombia: an impact on livelihood and well-being

Isabelle Schluep Campo and Daniele Polini

Abstract

The study concentrates on the potato and related crop protection business of Syngenta in Colombia. It takes the entire Colombian potato value chain into account to identify positive externalities resulting from the embeddedness of the multinational enterprise (MNE). The data on the extent of Syngenta’s embeddedness include trainings, collaborations and selected programs. The expert survey shows how external experts perceive the activities of the company and rate them compared to other chemical companies.

The study outlines the results of a «treatment group» and a «control group» that captures the positive externalities for smallholder potato farmers. Further, it addresses market conditions, especially the effects of changes in demand and the regulatory environment on potato production in environmentally fragile areas.

The study reveals the embedded ties that create value through mechanisms such as trust, knowledge transfer, and jointly seeking solutions to solve pertinent problems; bringing international standards to local businesses and integrating them into markets. By assessing the quality and extent of «local embeddedness» the study contributes to the designing of a tool-kit that should measure the degree of embeddedness and the positive sustainability effects of locally embedded Swiss-based multinational companies in developing countries.

Keywords: Syngenta, potato, crop protection, training, productivity, environmental awareness

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