Farmers' preference for cropping systems and the development of sustainable intensification: a choice experiment approach


Sustainable intensification (SI) of farming systems aims to increase food production from existing farmland in ways that have a lower environmental impact and maintain the food production capacity over time. SI embraces a set of diverse agricultural technologies that share a common feature: their adoption is dependent on the interactions between farmers’ decision-making processes, locally specific agro-ecological conditions, and the traits of the technology itself. There are concerns about the sustainability of the maize mono-cropping systems that are in use in Laosc today. Therefore, we used discrete choice experiments (DCE) to explore the potential adoption or alternative agricultural systems. We analyse the heterogeneity of farmers’ preferences and willingness to pay for different cropping system attributes using a mixed logit model, and we discuss the possible drivers and barriers to the adoption of these more sustainable options. The results suggest the existence of four types of farmers: “fertility-minded”, “factor-constrained”, “maximisers”, and “risk-averse”. Each type of farmers was likely to react differently to the proposed sustainable intensification techniques. Overall, the DCE appeared to be an efficient tool to elicit the diversity of farmer preferences in an agricultural region and for fine-tuning strategies for successful research and development of sustainable intensification.

Review of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Studies
Damien Jourdain
Damien Jourdain
Agricultural and Natural Resources Economist

My research interests include technical change, use of natural resources by farming households, environmental valuation