Ekin Birol
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Melinda Smale
Michigan State University
Jose M. Yorobe, Jr.
University of the Philippines-Los Baños

The only country in Asia to have approved a biotech food or feed crop is the Philippines, where Bt maize was initially commercialized in 2003. This study uses the choice experiment method and a latent class model to differentiate among maize producers and estimate their willingness to pay for Bt seed and other important attributes. Two segments are identified with markedly different willingness to pay and different preferences with respect to information and seed acquisition. The bi-modality of preferences confirms the importance of marketing and extension strategies that are tailored to the diversity of farm populations and agro-ecologies of the maize sector in the Philippines. The supply of credit for seed acquisition is likely to constitute an important policy instrument for diffusing all improved, yellow maize seed, including both biotech and nonbiotech hybrids. The authors consider the choice experiment method as an appropriate technique to investigate the preferences of new seed adopters but caution applied researchers regarding its hypothetical bias, framing, and preparation.

Key words: Bt maize, Philippines, choice experiment, latent class model.