Farmers' Preferences for Crop Variety Traits: Lessons for On-Farm Conservation and Technology Adoption
Although in-situ conservation is increasingly considered an efficient way of conserving plant genetic resources, little is known about the incentives and constraints that govern conservation decisions among small farm holders in developing countries. Using a choice experiment approach, we investigate Ethiopian farmers’ crop variety preferences, estimate the mean willingness to pay for each crop variety attribute, and identify household specific and institutional factors that govern the preferences. We find that environmental adaptability and yield stability are important attributes for farmers’ choice of crop varieties. Farmers are willing to forgo some income or output in order to obtain a more stable and environmentally adaptable crop variety. Among other things, household resource endowments (particularly land holdings and livestock assets), years of farming experience, and contact with extension services are the major factors causing household heterogeneity of crop variety preferences. Based on our experimental results, we derive important policy implications for on-farm conservation, breeding priority setting, and improved variety adoption in Ethiopia.
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