Farmers’ Preferences and Willingness-to-pay for improved cassava varieties in Uganda: The case of Arua, Lira, Nakasongola and Soroti districts
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This study examined farmers’ preferences and willingness-to-pay for improved cassava varieties. Choice experiments provided data used in the economic analysis of preferences and willingness-to-pay. The study elicited farmers’ preferences for the attributes of improved cassava varieties, and their willingness-to-pay using the random parameter logit model. While the latent class model was used to analyse preference heterogeneity and profile the farmers into segments of those likely or unlikely to demand improved cassava varieties. A total of 320 cassava farmers randomly selected from districts of Arua, Lira, Nakasongola and Soroti provided the data for the study. The results revealed that farmers preferred cassava varieties with better disease tolerance, taste, in-soil storage and maturity period. Though farmers were sensitive to prices, they were willing to pay high price premiums to acquire improved varieties and their willingness-to-pay varied across the study districts. Farmers were willing to pay a price premium for disease tolerance (USh 7,050), taste (USh 37,300 and 15,750 for raw and cooked taste respectively), maturity period (USh 20,800) and in-soil storage (USh 9,300). Overall, farmers were willing-to-pay price premium of Ush6,935 per bag of planting material of improved varieties. There was significant heterogeneity among the four segments of farmers grouped based on their preferences. The segment with the prospective adopters accounted for 36.2% of the farmers; these farmers showed a positive and significant propensity to demand improved cassava varieties. The results of the study have important implications for breeding and dissemination of farmer preferred cassava varieties, strengthening the seed system, targeting beneficiaries during distribution and marketing of improved cassava varieties, optimal pricing of planting material and forecasting demand for improved varieties.