Farmer preference for improved corn seeds in Chiapas, Mexico: A choice experiment approach

Blanca I. Sánchez-Toledano, Zein Kallas, José M. Gil-Roig


Appropriate technologies must be developed for adoption of improved seeds based on the farmers’ preferences and needs. Our research identified the farmers’ willingness to pay (WTP) as a key determinant for selecting the improved varieties of maize seeds and landraces in Chiapas, Mexico. This work also analyzed the farmers’ observed heterogeneity on the basis of their socio-economic characteristics. Data were collected using a semi-structured questionnaire from 200 farmers. A proportional choice experiment approach was applied using a proportional choice variable, where farmers were asked to state the percentage of preference for different alternative varieties in a choice set. The generalized multinomial logit model in WTP-space approach was used. The results suggest that the improved seed varieties are preferred over the Creole alternatives, thereby ensuring higher yields, resistance to diseases, and larger ear size. For the preference heterogeneity analyses, a latent class model was applied. Three types of farmers were identified: innovators (60.5%), transition farmers (29.4%), and conservative farmers (10%). An understanding of farmers’ preferences is useful in designing agricultural policies and creating pricing and marketing strategies for the dissemination of quality seeds.


Zea mays L.; proportional choice experiment; WTP-space model; latent class model

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2017153-11096