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UK Consumers’ Preferences for Ethical Attributes of Floating Rice: Implications for Environmentally Friendly Agriculture in Vietnam

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Kopp, Steven W. 
Trang, Nguyen Thuy 
Kontoleon, Andreas 


Vietnam plays an important role in bearing global food security. However, Vietnamese rice farmers face several challenges, including pressures to develop sustainable livelihoods while reducing the environmental impacts of their production activities. Various Vietnamese agricultural restructuring policies were promulgated to promote the adoption of environmentally friendly practices to generate high value added for rice farmers, but the farmers are reluctant to adopt them because of perceived lack of demand. Decreasing consumption of rice in Asia and increasing demands in Europe shaped Vietnamese rice exporting policies. New trade agreements, such as the UK–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, offer new target markets for Vietnamese rice farmers. This research provides empirical evidence related to the preferences of UK consumers for ethical attributes for floating rice imported from Vietnam. Floating rice represents a traditional method of rice cultivation that relies on the natural flooding cycle. Its cultivation uses very few agrochemical inputs and provides several other environmental, economic, and social benefits. In an online survey, the study used a choice experiment that asked 306 UK consumers to report their preferences for one kilo of floating rice with three non-market attributes: reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, allocation of profits to the farmers, and restitution of biodiversity. Overall, study participants favored the attributes of floating rice, but reported utility for only the “fair trade” attribute and for a marginal willingness to pay premiums for profit allocations to farmers. Consumers did not find value in either CO2 emission reduction or biodiversity improvement. Results from the study provide recommendations to develop agricultural programs, distribution strategies, and informational methods to encourage floating rice consumption in the UK.



agricultural policy, food policy, valuation of environmental effects, government policy, value chain agri-food, agriculture in international trade, carbon footprint, greenhouse gas reduction, fair trade, biodiversity

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RONPAKU, JSPS (R11616, 2020-02)