Consumer attitudes towards and willingness to pay for pesticide residue limit compliant 'safe' vegetables in Northeast Thailand
Posri, W., Shankar, B. and Chadbunchachai, S. (2007) Consumer attitudes towards and willingness to pay for pesticide residue limit compliant 'safe' vegetables in Northeast Thailand. Journal of International Food and Agribusiness Marketing, 19 (1). pp. 81-101. ISSN 0897-4438
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1300/J047v19n01_05
Pesticide residue in vegetables is a major food safety issue in Thailand. A range of vegetable products (organic/pesticide-free/ hydroponic) has emerged in Thai markets that guarantee compliance with maximum residue limits. The Government of Thailand is eager to extend the benefits of this suite of alternative vegetables to the entire population, particularly the semi-urban/rural segments that are often bypassed by such speciality products. However, little information is available to guide such an effort, particularly with regard to up-country consumer attitudes, shopping and consumption habits and willingness to pay premiums for such produce. This research aims to fill this gap in knowledge. It reports the results of a survey of vegetable consumption and shopping habits and attitudes of 608 consumers in northeast Thailand. Willingness to pay premiums for pesticide residue limit compliant vegetables is also assessed by using a contingent valuation method, and determinants of willingness to pay are examined using an ordered probit empirical model. Results indicate that, given adequate awareness of relative risks, even up-country consumers are willing to pay market premium levels for these products, and that inadequate availability, rather than lack of demand is the constraining factor. Willingness to pay is found to increase with income, age and supermarket sourcing of vegetables. We also discuss the challenge of improving availability at mainstream outlets.