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Abstract

New crop varieties often have been promoted in developing countries based upon superior yield vis-a-vis locally available varieties. This research presents a hedonic model for upland rice by drawing upon the input characteristics and consumer good characteristics model literature. Model specification tests determine that a combination of production and consumption characteristics best explains the willingness to pay for new upland rice varieties. This non-separable household model specification determined that four traits explain the willingness to pay for new rice varieties: plant cycle length, plant height, grain elongation/swelling and tenderness. Yield was not significant explanatory variable for the willingness to pay for seed. The implications of this model are two-fold. First, varietal development and promotion must include post-harvest characteristics in addition to production traits when determining which varieties to promote for official release. Secondly, non-yield production characteristics such as plant height and cycle length are significant factors in producers' assessments of the value of a new variety. Overall, this paper provides an alternative explanation for limited adoption of modern upland rice varieties in West Africa: varietal evaluation programs have focused too narrowly on yield evaluation and have not promoted varieties with superior non-yield characteristics than locally available varieties.

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