Consumer Preference for Selected Roots and Tubers among Urban Households of Nakuru County, Kenya
Keywords:Consumer preference, food security, household consumption, multivariate Probit model, root and tuber crops
Roots and tubers are the second most important crops after cereals and significantly contribute to food and nutrition security of the tropics and subtropical regions. Being cheaper alternative sources of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, their consumption preference by the poor is highly encouraged. Moreover, they contribute to income generation and sustainable development. Despite the highlighted benefits consumption of R&Ts is still below the recommended level. In this regard, understanding how households make consumption decisions for R&Ts is vital in enhancing their utilisation. Therefore, this study assessed the determinants of consumer preference for selected R&Ts using a multivariate Probit model. A stratified multistage sampling technique was adopted to select a sample unit of 385 respondents, and data were collected using a pretested semi-structured questionnaire. Irish potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) had the highest preference level of 70%, followed by sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) at 61%, while arrowroots (Maranta arundinacea) had a preference of 42%. Cassava (Manihot esculentum) and yams (Dioscorea alata) were the least preferred at 22% each. The analysis revealed that socio-demographic factors (education, monthly income, cultural orientation, nutritional knowledge, covid-19 pandemic), institutional and economic factors (market distance, farming of R&Ts, retail prices), and product characteristics (production place, availability of different types of R&Ts, size, quality, taste, and preparation time) influenced preferences for R&Ts by urban households. Increased consumer awareness on the nutritional benefits of R&Ts and regulation of their retail prices could increase preference for the crops among urban consumers.
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