Willingness to Pay for Local Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food for Malnutrition Management in Bungoma and Busia Counties, Kenya
AbstractCases of malnutrition have been on the rise in Western Kenya inhibiting the development of the region. Among the coping strategies for malnutrition is the introduction of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF). These are energy-dense pastes which have nutritional values as they are made from powder milk, peanuts, minerals, sugar, vitamins and vegetable oils. Despite this invention, the communities have been facing challenges in terms of access to RUTF. This is due to shortages in stock of RUTF as they are on high demand. The available products are usually imported and primarily distributed in hospitals as donations and no major commercialization effort of the product has been done. This leaves the product to be only limited to the beneficiaries of the donations and any other willing consumer of the product cannot access it. The study therefore sought to determine the consumers’ willingness to pay for an alternative local RUTF in Western Kenya. A face-to-face household- level survey of 400 respondents chosen through multistage sampling was conducted in Busia and Bungoma counties of Western Kenya. A structured questionnaire and both descriptive and econometric analysis were employed. Estimations of the factors affecting the consumers’ willingness to pay were conducted using binary logit model. The results show that majority of the respondents (252 out of 400 accounting for 63%) were willing to pay for a local RUTFs. The binary logistic regression results showed that frequency of consumption of RUTFs was found to positively influence the willingness to pay (WTP) while household size and land tenure negatively and significantly affected WTP. The high ratio of willingness to pay reveals the importance of producing a local alternative RUTFs to meet the demand. Household socio- economic characteristics also played an essential role in influencing the willingness to pay and should be considered when producing an alternative RUTF.
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