FOSRIN: Food security through ricebean research in India and Nepal

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Work Packages: WP1

WP1 addresses the supply -chain characterization and analysis of consumer demand in ricebean. It meets project objectives 1, 4, 5 and 6:

This work links the genetic activities of the project to market conditions and consumer preferences, and is innovative for three reasons.

  1. We have adopted an extended supply-chain perspective of regional legume production and marketing, including breeders, small-scale farmers, intermediaries at various market stages who assemble, clean, store, transport, distribute and sell ricebean to consumers, and women-consumers who produce edible dishesand assess its value. This perspective is much wider than that adopted in conventional studies of improved variety introduction where activities in the sequence “crop breeding – crop production – market intermediation – cooking – consumption” are considered in separation and, if they are considered jointly, where the breeding stage is usually not considered as part of the supply-chain. The extended supply-chain then directs research attention to the activities of the agents whose decisions govern the flow of the physical products (seed and produce) from its source to its destination, as well as to the flow of information that guides the actions of the agents in the supply-chain.
  2. By drawing on advanced hedonic demand theory and methodology we decompose ricebean into a bundle of value-bearing characteristics or attributes and estimate the monetary value to consumers of these characteristics or traits by regressing measurements on them on market prices. The estimated values of legumes characteristics are then used to derive a market-price based index of the value of legume traits (MLTVI) which reflects consumers' preferences for these traits. This index can then be used by ricebean breeders to breed for traits highly valued by consumers. Only small (< 100 grams) samples are required for quantifying the characteristics of legumes and MLTVI can therefore already by used at early stages (e.g. from the F3-generation) of a breeding program to estimate the value to consumers of a crop which is still being developed. By analyzing the hedonic values of legume characteristics separately for different consumer groups a market segmentation of the legumes market into legumes with mostly high-value characteristics and with mostly low-valued attributes may be attempted.
  3. Empirically estimated values of legume characteristics will be used to analyse the supply-chain activities that follow ricebean production. In particular, this will investigate those activities that may have strong impacts – irrespective of whether of a positive, value-adding kind or negative and subtracting value – on ricebean characteristics of high value to consumers and will spend less time on supply-chain activities that add or subtract little or no value.

The endpoints will be the empirically-estimated hedonic demand function for legumes, the Market-price level Legumes Trait Value Index to guide breeders, and a workable strategy to introduce the crop into the supply-chain.

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