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What factors contribute to conversion to organic farming? Consideration of the Health Belief Model in relation to the uptake of organic farming by Iranian farmers

Masoud Yazdanpanah, Maryam Tajeri Moghadam, Tahereh Zobeidi, Ana Paula Dias Turetta, Luca Eufemia and Stefan Sieber

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 2022, vol. 65, issue 5, 907-929

Abstract: Organic Farming (OF) is a response to challenges caused by conventional or intensive agriculture. Successful organic production depends on farmers choosing to grow organic products. The main goal of this study is to analyze and identify factors affecting farmers’ willingness to implement OF in southwest Iran. For this, we borrowed the health belief model (HBM) from the health psychology domain. The study, a questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey in Behbahan County, Khuzestan province, in southwest Iran, comprises 320 farmers who were selected through a multistage random sampling technique. The structural equations modeling reveals that four variables – cue to action, perceived barriers, general beliefs, and perceived benefits – account for 54% of the variance in farmers’ willingness toward OF. Furthermore, cue to action is the most important factor determining farmer willingness towards implementing OF. The results reveal that HBM has appropriate explanatory power and is an effective tool for investigating farmer willingness toward OF. It is suggested that government agencies use socio-psychological frameworks to develop organic agriculture. Additionally, as government agencies develop policies that increase OF, the consideration of how farmers perceive the benefits and barriers of implementing OF is critical, along with understanding their general beliefs and concerns about the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in conventional agriculture. Offering extension services is also key.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2021.1917348

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