Date of Graduation

12-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural Economics (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness

Advisor

Alvaro Durand-Morat

Committee Member

Rodolfo M. Nayga, Jr.

Second Committee Member

Daniel V. Rainey

Keywords

Consumer preferences, Food insecurity, Haiti, Random Utility, Rice, Willingness to pay

Abstract

In the last 30 years, rice has become the number one food staple in Haiti, and rice imports have outpaced domestic production to supply the country’s increasing rice demand. Policy makers support the claim that increasing local rice supply will not only reduce the dependency on imported rice but also upheave the national economy. However, there is a lack of information on Haitian consumers’ preferences for rice to aid the development of the local rice supply chain. This research aims to bridge that gap by assessing Haitian consumer preferences and willingness to pay for selected rice quality characteristics. The results from a hypothetical choice experiment conducted in Haiti suggest that Haitian consumers value domestic rice more than imported rice but are indifferent about presence of broken rice in the sample. The information treatment about parboiled rice has a positive impact on consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP). As expected, WTP for parboiled rice is on average statistically greater among the respondents in the treatment group than for those in the control group. The results highlight the importance of developing marketing information about parboiled rice and the domestic origin of the rice sold in the market as a way to improve the competitiveness of domestic relative to imported rice. Although the results suggest that consumers are indifferent about the presence of broken rice in the sample, further quality assessments are needed to assess the role of certain rice quality attributes that can guide investment in more modern processing technologies.

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