This paper is focuses on assessing the agricultural value of wild coffee genetic resource in view of local coffee producers. Specifically, it is to estimate their demand for improved coffee planting material with respect to coffee production constraints the farmers are facing. Three sites are considered based on variability in coffee production systems. It includes the forest communities keeping wild coffee types, semi-forest coffee types, and areas where coffee production is exclusively dependent upon improved types.
The agricultural value of the wild coffee genetic resource is estimated in terms of producers’ willingness to pay for improved coffee planting material that can be developed through selection or breeding process. Choice experiment is employed to estimate the willingness to pay. A stated preference method of the choice experiment is employed based on the fact that certain wild coffee germplasms are indeed known to have valuable attributes like vigor nature, resistant to diseases and pests. The respondents were asked to choose between their local alternative and improved material profiles with different level of improvements in the attributes.
The general model of choice is based on the assumption of the rational behavior of individuals that render to choose among alternatives the one that maximizes their utility function (Alkerov and Monjardet, 2002; Bentham, 1970). It is conducted by assessing the willingness to pay for the provision of alternative goods or services (Birol, 2002; Relay, 2002). The modeling is based on the Lancaster’s theory of demand where consumers have preferences for goods and services, and derive utility from the underlying attributes characterizing them rather than the commodity per se.
The experiment began with preliminary information on important attributes of coffee planting material. The information was obtained from secondary sources and exploratory surveys as these methods are commonly used to specify important attributes and their levels (Adamowicz et al., 1998a). Preliminary information on vital attributes of coffee planting material that are considered by the coffee producers and ranges of the farmers’ ability and willingness to pay for improved coffee planting material was collected through group discussions.