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Farmer preferences for Milpa diversity and genetically modified maize in Mexico: A latent class approach

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Author Info

  • Birol, Ekin
  • Villalba, Eric Rayn
  • Smale, Melinda

Abstract

"Maize, the second most globally important staple crop after wheat, originated in Mexico, where it is typically grown as part of a set of associated crops and practices called the milpa system. This ancient mode of production is practiced today in ways that vary by cultural context and agro-environment. Milpas generate private economic value, in terms of food security, diet quality and livelihoods, for the two-million farm households who manage them. Furthermore, milpas generate public economic value by conserving agrobiodiversity, especially that of maize landraces, which have the potential to contribute unique traits needed by plant breeders for future crop improvement. In this way, milpas contribute to global food security in maize. However, the sustainability of the milpa system has been threatened by off-farm employment opportunities, long-distance migration, the increasing commercialization and intensification of maize production. Most recently, the milpa system has been negatively impacted by the contamination of maize landraces by genetically modified (GM) maize, cultivation of which is currently prohibited in Mexico. Here, we employ a choice experiment to estimate Mexican farmers' valuation of three components of agrobiodiversity (crop species richness, maize variety richness and maize landraces), and examine their interest in cultivating GM maize. Choice experiment data, household level social, economic and demographic data, community level economic development data, and information on milpa production characteristics, and farmers' attitudes and perceptions with regards to GM food and crops were collected from 420 farm households across 17 communities in three states of Mexico. Using these data, we analyzed the heterogeneity of farmer preferences using a latent class model, which can be used to simultaneously identify sample segments having homogenous preferences for milpa attributes, as well as farmer characteristics affecting preferences. We further identified the characteristics of farmers who are most likely to continue growing maize landraces and managing milpa systems, as well as those least likely to accept GM maize. Specifically, we identified three distinct segments of farmers: (i) Landrace Conservationists derive the highest private economic value from continued management of landraces and the highest economic loss from the possible adoption of GM maize. These farmers are young, dislike GM foods and crops, and are mainly located at the Oaxaca site, where transgenic constructs have been found in maize landraces. (ii) Milpa Diversity Managers derive the highest economic value from managing all of the agrobiodiversity components of the milpa, and suffer fewer losses from management of GM maize. These are older farmers, who are curious and like to experiment with maize varieties. (iii) Marginalized Maize Producers derive little value from crop species and maize variety richness, receive minimal value from maize landraces, and also experience the smallest negative impact from the adoption of GM maize. These farmers are located in the most isolated communities, have the lowest level of productivity, and oversee the largest milpa areas. They are also the most tightly integrated into the maize output markets. These novel findings have implications for debates concerning the adoption of GM maize in Mexico and its associated costs and benefits, as well as for the design of targeted, cost-effective conservation programs on farms." from Author's Abstract

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series IFPRI discussion papers with number 726.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:726

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Keywords: maize; Genetically modified crops; Conservation; Small farmers; Biodiversity;

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  1. Jupiter Ndjeunga & Carl H. Nelson, 2005. "Toward understanding household preference for consumption characteristics of millet varieties: a case study from western Niger," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 32(2), pages 151-165, 03.
  2. J. Edward Taylor & Antonio Yunez-Naude & George Dyer, 1999. "Agricultural Price Policy, Employment, and Migration in a Diversified Rural Economy: A Village-Town CGE Analysis from Mexico," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(3), pages 653-662.
  3. Kontoleon Andreas & Yabe Mitsuyasu, 2006. "Market Segmentation Analysis of Preferences for GM Derived Animal Foods in the UK," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-38, December.
  4. Bellon, Mauricio R., 2004. "Conceptualizing Interventions to Support On-Farm Genetic Resource Conservation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 159-172, January.
  5. Adamowicz W. & Louviere J. & Williams M., 1994. "Combining Revealed and Stated Preference Methods for Valuing Environmental Amenities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 271-292, May.
  6. Peter Boxall & Wiktor Adamowicz, 2002. "Understanding Heterogeneous Preferences in Random Utility Models: A Latent Class Approach," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 23(4), pages 421-446, December.
  7. Scarpa, Riccardo & Ruto, Eric S. K. & Kristjanson, Patti & Radeny, Maren & Drucker, Adam G. & Rege, John E. O., 2003. "Valuing indigenous cattle breeds in Kenya: an empirical comparison of stated and revealed preference value estimates," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 409-426, July.
  8. Wuyang Hu, 2004. "Trading off health, environmental and genetic modification attributes in food," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 31(3), pages 389-408, September.
  9. Van Dusen, M. Eric & Taylor, J. Edward, 2005. "Missing markets and crop diversity: evidence from Mexico," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 513-531, August.
  10. Smale, Melinda & Bellon, Mauricio R & Aguirre Gomez, Jose Alfonso, 2001. "Maize Diversity, Variety Attributes, and Farmers' Choices in Southeastern Guanajuato, Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(1), pages 201-25, October.
  11. Othman, Jamal & Bennett, Jeff & Blamey, Russell, 2004. "Environmental values and resource management options: a choice modelling experience in Malaysia," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(06), pages 803-824, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ekin Birol & Sukanya Das, 2010. "The Value of Improved Public Services: An Application of the Choice Experiment Method to Estimate the Value of Improved Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure in India," Working Papers 2010-051, Madras School of Economics,Chennai,India.
  2. Raghu, P.T. & Das, S. & Ravi, S.B. & King, E.D.I.O, 2012. "Use of Contingent Valuation to Assess Farmer Preference for On-farm Conservation of Minor Millets: Case from South India," MPRA Paper 43348, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Prabhakaran T. Raghu & Sukanya Das & S. Bala Ravi & E.D.Israel Oliver King, 2012. "Assessing Farmer’s Willingness to Participate in the On-farm Conservation of Minor Millet using Direct Compensation Payment," Working Papers 2012-073, Madras School of Economics,Chennai,India.
  4. Mélanie Jaeck & Robert Lifran, 2009. "Preferences, Norms and Constraints in farmers' agro-ecological choices. Case study using choice experiments survey in the Rhone River Delta, France," Working Papers 09-16, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Dec 2009.
  5. Kikulwe, Enoch & Birol, Ekin & Wesseler, Justus & Falck-Zepeda, José, 2009. "A latent class approach to investigating consumer demand for genetically modified staple food in a developing country: The case of GM bananas in Uganda," IFPRI discussion papers 938, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  6. Birol, Ekin & Asare-Marfo, Dorene & Karandikar,Bhushana & Roy, Devesh, 2011. "A latent class approach to investigating farmer demand for biofortified staple food crops in developing countries: The case of high-iron pearl millet in Maharashtra, India," HarvestPlus Working Papers 7, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  7. James, Philip A.S. & Smart, James C. R. & Smith, Julian & Bulling, M. T. & Beed, Fen D. & Luwandagga, David, 2011. "The effect of participation in the Ugandan National Agricultural Advisory Services on willingness to pay for extension services," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 6(1), March.
  8. Kikulwe, Enoch M. & Birol, Ekin & Wesseler, Justus & Falck-Zepeda, Jose Benjamin, 2013. "Benefits, costs, and consumer perceptions of the potential introduction of a fungus-resistant banana in Uganda and policy implications," IFPRI book chapters, in: Falck-Zepeda, Jose Benjamin & Gruère, Guillaume P. & Sithole-Niang, Idah (ed.), Genetically modified crops in Africa: Economic and policy lessons from countries south of the Sahara, chapter 4, pages 99-141 International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  9. Jean-Marc Blazy & François Causeret & Jean-Louis Diman, 2011. "Conditions d’adoption de plantes de services agro-écologiques en rotation avec la banane aux Antilles," Working Papers 167838, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  10. Alexandre Gori Maia & José Maria Jardim Da Silveira, 2014. "Farmers’ Preferences For Genetically Modified Corn In Brazil: The Contribution Of Latent Attitudes," Anais do XLI Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 41th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 196, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].

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