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The Role of Gender, Risk, and Time Preferences in Farmers' Rice Variety Selection in Eastern India

Using data from 5,601 rice farmers in Eastern India, this study examined the role of gender, risk, and time preferences in farmers' rice variety selection in Eastern India. The determinants of the following were estimated: farmers' rice variety selection according to variety type (i.e., modern [non-hybrid], stress-tolerant, hybrid, and traditional), and farmers' main reasons (i.e., yield potential, taste/cooking quality, marketability/affordability, and stress tolerance) for choosing a rice variety. A multivariate probit model was employed to identify the factors that influence farmers' decision-making, since some farmers choose to mix rice varieties from multiple categories. The results revealed that female farmers, who are more risk-averse, usually choose rice varieties based on cooking quality (e.g., good taste, high cooking quality, and good straw quality) and stress tolerance. They are less likely to select hybrid rice, and also less likely to base their decision on market-oriented reasons, compared to male farmers. Certain rice varieties released many decades ago remain popular among farmers because of multiple preferred attributes. The preference model is useful in understanding why some varieties are more popular than others, among female and male farmers. 

Vol. 14 No. 1, June 2017

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