This study uses a choice experiment method to quantify farmers’ valuation of key bean variety attributes under different climatic conditions of Kenya and assess their willingness to pay or accept for changes in those attributes. The study also tests for the gender related heterogeneity in attribute preferences at individual and household level while accounting for differences in production scenarios to understand when and where men and women preferences begin to diverge or converge. The key common bean attributes were: yield, tolerance to environmental stresses (intermittent drought and root rot), early maturing, taste and reduced cooking time. Choice data was collected from random selected 504 households from purposively selected districts of high drought prone areas and high rainfall parts of Kenya. A random parameter logit model with interactions that accounts for random heterogeneity and conditional heterogeneity was used to derive unbiased estimates. Results indicate that all attributes are important but farmer derive higher utility from changes in consumption and post-harvest attributes compared to those in production attributes. Farmer valuation of the changes in yield, tolerance to environmental stresses and cooking time are heterogeneous, partly explained by size of the household, gender, risk aversion and market access. Men generally are likely to derive higher values from improvements in these attributes than women. Results have important implications for breeding priority setting, seed dissemination and integration of gender into bean improvement research.
Key word: Choice experiment, bean attributes, gender, Kenya.
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