The improved availability of specific information/intelligence to guide decision-making in agriculture has substantial value in allowing stakeholders to take the best possible course of action.
Castries, Saint Lucia - May 9, 2019 (IICA). The improved availability of specific information/intelligence to guide decision-making in agriculture has substantial value in allowing stakeholders to take the best possible course of action.
"Understanding what the market wants and is responsive to helps eliminate a lot of the guess work and sometimes false assumptions related to new undertakings. Saint Lucia currently has a draft organic standard but no specific guidance to farmers, buyers and potential investors as to what the prospects for this commodity segment does or could look like." said IICA's National Specialist in Saint Lucia, Brent Theophile. This motivated the market research.
The work was financed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) through as part of activities for the People’s Knowledge Fair (December 10 – 11 2018) hosted by the UNDP Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (UNDP GEF SGP) and Women on A Mission (WOAM), IICA led the conducting of market research to specify nature of demand for organic foods in Saint Lucia (market characterization); and to generate various indicators of the comparative value of investment in organic production/production and market development (economic merit).
Consumer surveys were conducted at five different locations around Saint Lucia over a two-month period. Analyses were done using a probit binary logistic regression model to characterize willingness to pay. The study qualified and identified indicators of consumers’ willingness to pay for organic foods, evaluated consumers’ purchasing behaviours and desired factors/attributes for organic foods, and developed estimate for the economic merit of establishing an organic industry.
The results were able to account for consumers’ willingness to buy organic foods at a premium. Specifically, it found that the persons most willing to pay a premium for organic commodities in Saint Lucia are male, of average income, residing in urban areas, from households ranging from two to four members, and are conscientious of labelling and packaging, authenticity, price, nutritional benefits and safeguarding the environment. Among socio-economic factors, gender, income, household size and location were the most noteworthy in determining persons’ willingness to pay for organic foods.