Evaluating Agribusiness Regulatory Compliance among Vegetable Producers in Kenya Against Consumers’ Willingness to Pay for Food Safety
Keywords:Consumers, Producers, Food-safety, Premium
Purpose: For many years the failure of actors such as farmers to comply with regulations that promote public good, such as adherence to safe practices in the use of agrochemicals was only understood from a position of weak enforcement and surveillance. The study sought to evaluate agribusiness regulatory compliance and consumers’ willingness to pay for a food safety premium among vegetable producers in Kenya.
Methodology: The researcher adopted a cross-sectional survey design to randomly recruit a sample of crop farmers (n=118) and vegetable consumers (n=235) from Kirinyaga and Kiambu counties in Kenya, respectively. Data on consumer willingness to pay for safe agricultural produce as well as logistical issues regarding proximity to markets and social status of the crop farmers were collected using a researcher-administered questionnaire in a one-on-one interview. A similar approach was adopted to interview consumers’ social status and vegetable consumption patterns.
Results/Findings: The study found that the present commercialization of tomatoes and kales is driven by low-income earners’ bid to earn a livelihood. However, their capital limitations push them to farm outside planned areas such as forests fringes, riverbanks or low potential zones in which they face extraordinary pressure from pests and diseases, which in turn compel them to abuse agrochemicals. This finding also explains their marginalization from county government extension services, high costs of market access and potential to experiment with classified agrochemicals. The study revealed that high income consumer from Westlands (91.44%) were likely to consider agrochemicals in their decisions to purchase vegetables compared to medium and low-income from Kasarani and Embakasi (2.21% and 6.35%), respectively. Majority of the vegetable consumers were not aware of varied agrichemical used by fathers as well as their health and environmental effects.There is reason to believe that both farmers and consumers could be heavily exposed to which the study proposes a population-based survey to assess agrochemical poisoning.
Unique contribution to theories, practice and policy: This study finds compelling evidence to suggest that livelihood and farming outcomes of vegetable farmers are a key consideration among consumers purchase decisions. The findings also suggest that these factors significantly incentivize the farmer to comply with agribusiness ethics regulations.
The paper recommends a training of extension officers and advocate for more budgetary allocation on agriculture. The extension officers will in turn train farmers on god farming practices as well as implementation of mitigation measures in relation to toxic pesticides. The researcher feels that there is a need to for a research to be conducted to understand the involvement of farmers in the formulation of policies and agribusiness practices rules in order to gain knowledge on the level of acceptance of these polices among farmers in Kenya.
Key words: Consumers, Producers, Food-safety, Premium
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