Empirical Analysis of Process Quality Aspects in the German Agri-Food Sector
The present dissertation examines determinants of farmers' decision behavior to approve or disapprove process quality schemes in food production. A key methodology used in this study is discrete choice experiments (DCE) that are applied to reveal farmers' preferences and willingness-to-accept for production schemes. Although many people are critical towards modern agricultural practices and some consumers are willing to pay price increments for certain process qualities, the availability of milk that is produced without using GMO and high-welfare meat remain limited. The private sector as well as the German government responds with the establishment of production schemes and standards to meet consumers’ demand. However, there is a perception that incentives for farmers are not sufficient to encourage the desired changes of farming practices. This study examines farmers’ acceptance of milk production without GM-feedstuff (Chapter 2), as well as improved housing conditions and animal-friendly livestock handling in dairy and pig farming (Chapter 3 and 4). Furthermore, estimates of consumers’ willingness-to-pay for high welfare cutlets were used to simulate markets for pork produced in accordance with defined farm animal welfare standards (Chapter 4). In addition, farmers’ support of cooperation between dairies in the form of the joint milk collection to the production of cost-effective and more environmentally friendly was subject of the study in Chapter 5. The results of the case studies show that not only economic indicators are relevant for a farmers’ decision making, but also "soft factors", such as the general attitude towards animal welfare or genetic engineering and also the perception of the supplier relationship quality between the dairy company’s management and the farmer. This information can be used to design production concepts more efficient and thus achieve a greater degree of acceptance.