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

Author

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  • 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

Suggested Citation

  • Birol, Ekin & Villalba, Eric Rayn & Smale, Melinda, 2007. "Farmer preferences for Milpa diversity and genetically modified maize in Mexico: A latent class approach," IFPRI discussion papers 726, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:726
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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," Development Economics Working Papers 23062, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    2. 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).
    3. 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).
    4. K. Akankwasa & G. F. Ortmann & E. Wale & W. K. Tushemereirwe, 2016. "Early-Stage Adoption of Improved Banana “Matooke” Hybrids in Uganda: A Count Data Analysis Based on Farmers’ Perceptions," International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management (IJITM), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 13(01), pages 1-26, February.
    5. Prabhakaran Raghu & Sukanya Das & S. Ravi & E.D.Israel King, 2013. "Assessing Farmer ’s Willingness to Participate in the On - farm Conservation of Minor Millet using Direct Compensation Payment," Working Papers id:5329, eSocialSciences.
    6. Bartkowski, Bartosz & Lienhoop, Nele & Hansjürgens, Bernd, 2015. "Capturing the complexity of biodiversity: A critical review of economic valuation studies of biological diversity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 1-14.
    7. 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 41st Brazilian Economics Meeting] 196, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    8. Pallante, Giacomo & Drucker, Adam G. & Sthapit, Sajal, 2016. "Assessing the potential for niche market development to contribute to farmers' livelihoods and agrobiodiversity conservation: Insights from the finger millet case study in Nepal," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 92-105.
    9. 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, Universitiy of Montpellier, revised Dec 2009.
    10. repec:eee:ecolec:v:150:y:2018:i:c:p:184-193 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Raghu, Prabhakaran T. & Das, Sukanya & Ravi, S. Bala & King, E.D. Israel Oliver, 2012. "Use of Contingent Valuation to Assess Farmer Preference for On-farm Conservation of Minor Millets: Case from South India," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 67(3).
    12. 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).
    13. Sukanya Das & S. Bala Ravi & Prabhakaran T. Raghu, 2015. "Assessing Farmer's Willingness to Participate in the On-farm Conservation of Minor Millet using Direct Compensation Payment," Working Papers id:7733, eSocialSciences.
    14. 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.
    15. Ortega, David L. & Waldman, Kurt B. & Richardson, Robert B. & Clay, Daniel C. & Snapp, Sieglinde, 2016. "Sustainable Intensification and Farmer Preferences for Crop System Attributes: Evidence from Malawi’s Central and Southern Regions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 139-151.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. Massimo Filippini & Adán L. Martínez-Cruz, 2016. "Impact of environmental and social attitudes, and family concerns on willingness to pay for improved air quality: a contingent valuation application in Mexico City," Latin American Economic Review, Springer;Centro de Investigaciòn y Docencia Económica (CIDE), vol. 25(1), pages 1-18, December.
    19. Vlaeminck, Pieter & Vranken, Liesbet & Van Den Broeck, Goedele & Vande Velde, Katrien & Raymaekers, Karen & Maertens, Miet, 2015. "Farmers’ preferences for Fair Trade contracting in Benin," Working Papers 225931, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centre for Agricultural and Food Economics.
    20. Waldman, Kurt B. & Ortega, David L. & Richardson, Robert B. & Snapp, Sieglinde S., 2017. "Estimating demand for perennial pigeon pea in Malawi using choice experiments," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 222-230.

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    Keywords

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

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