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Social Valuation of Genebank Activities: Assessing Public Demand for Genetic Resource Conservation in the Czech Republic

Nicholas Tyack () and Milan Ščasný ()
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Nicholas Tyack: Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 11, 1-19

Abstract: The use of diverse genetic resources to breed improved crop varieties has been a key driver of agricultural productivity improvements in the past century. At the same time, the adoption of modern varieties has contributed to substantial loss of traditional varieties. In this analysis, we estimate the social value provided by several proposed crop diversity conservation programs to be carried out by the Czech genebank system. We use a double-bounded dichotomous choice model to estimate the willingness-to-pay (WTP) for conserving additional crop varieties in the genebank for ten years using data collected through an online contingent valuation survey administered to a sample representative of the general Czech population (1037 respondents) and a smaller sub-sample representative of the agricultural region of South Moravia (500 respondents). Mean WTP was found to be about $9 for both the Czech and S. Moravian sub-samples, corresponding to country-wide benefits of ~$68 million. These benefits increase by 6–7% for every ten varieties conserved, implying total welfare benefits of ~$84 million for a program conserving the maximum number of 35 additional crop varieties offered in the experiment. The study illustrates an empirical approach of potential value for policymakers responsible for determining funding levels for genetic resource conservation.

Keywords: crop diversity; plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA); public goods; contingent valuation; double-bounded dichotomous choice; willingness to pay (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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