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Are Consumers in Developing Countries Willing-to-Pay More for Micronutrient-Dense Biofortified Foods? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Uganda

Author

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  • Chowdhury, Shyamal K.
  • Meenakshi, J.V.
  • Tomlins, Keith
  • Owori, Constance

Abstract

Vitamin A deficiency is a major health problem in Africa and in many other developing countries. Biofortified staple crops that are high in pro vitamins A and adapted to local growing environment have the potential to reduce the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency. One such example is the orange-fleshed sweetpotato. However because of its distinctive orange color, which is in contrast to the white varieties that are typically consumed in Africa, it is important to assess whether consumers will accept it. It is this question that this paper attempts to address, using a choice experiment with the real product to quantify the magnitude of the premium or discount in consumers’ willingness to pay that may be associated with it. In addition, it also considers the extent to which the provision of nutrition information affects valuations. Finally, it addresses whether the use of hypothetical scenarios, both with and without a cheap talk script is justified in a developing country context, and quantifies the magnitude of hypothetical bias that results as a consequence. The experiment was conducted in Uganda, which is a key target country for the dissemination of orange-fleshed sweetpotato. Our results suggest that in the absence of nutrition information, there is no difference in the willingness to pay between white and orange varieties, but there is a discount for yellow sweetpotato (which does not have any beta-carotene). The provision of nutrition information does translate into substantial premia for the orange varieties, indicating that an information campaign may be key to drive market acceptance of the new product. Finally, there is a substantial hypothetical bias in both the WTP and the marginal WTP for the new varieties, and while cheap talk mitigates this bias, it does not eliminate it.

Suggested Citation

  • Chowdhury, Shyamal K. & Meenakshi, J.V. & Tomlins, Keith & Owori, Constance, 2009. "Are Consumers in Developing Countries Willing-to-Pay More for Micronutrient-Dense Biofortified Foods? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Uganda," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 49945, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae09:49945
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    2. Ewa Zawojska & Mikołaj Czajkowski, 2015. "Re-examining empirical evidence on contingent valuation – Importance of incentive compatibility," Working Papers 2015-08, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    3. Moser, Riccarda & Raffaelli, Roberta & Notaro, Sandra, 2010. "The Role Of Production Methods In Fruit Purchasing Behaviour: Hypothetical Vs Actual Consumers’ Preferences And Stated Minimum Requirements," 115th Joint EAAE/AAEA Seminar, September 15-17, 2010, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany 116426, European Association of Agricultural Economists;Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agricultural and Food Policy; Consumer/Household Economics; Demand and Price Analysis; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Food Security and Poverty; Health Economics and Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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