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The role of certification, risk and time preferences in promoting adoption of climate-resilient citrus varieties in Indonesia


The adoption rate of certified climate-resilient crop seedling varieties in developing countries is generally low, impacting on the ability of smallholder perennial crop farmers to adapt to climate change. Given the long-lived nature of perennial crop investments and the high level of uncertainty regarding both the quality of the seedlings and the climate to which they will be exposed as mature trees, there are clear linkages to farmers’ subjective beliefs regarding yield differentials between certified and uncertified seedlings, risk behaviours, and time preferences. We consider these aspects using a recently developed survey-based tool for measuring risk and time preferences and link those to stated preferences and observations on the adoption of certified seedlings. Results show that farmers’ beliefs regarding yield and variance of yields of certified and uncertified seedling along with the risk attitudes are significant correlates with seedling choice behaviours. Our results also indicate that information asymmetries in the certified seedling market may play a role in limiting the benefits of certification programs both due to cheating and due to lower levels of adoption.

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  1. In this study, we differentiate the term of improved variety and certified seedling. Improved variety is a crop variety which has resulted from scientific breeding research programs. Certified seedling embody the attributes of ‘improved varieties’ but in addition embody institutional aspects that seek to provide a guarantee over particular genetic, production, yield, and/or resilience traits. This guarantee is typically through certification by a recognised seed supervisory authority (McDonald, 1998; van Gastel et al., 2002).

  2. Huanglongbing is a degenerative disease which causes decreasing citrus productivity and even plant death. This disease is spread by an insect vector and also carried over in the seedling, so in the controlling strategies, the collective plant management is very important (see Nurhadi, 2015; Supriyanto et al., 2017).

  3. In the remainder of the paper, the terms of ‘subjective belief of yield’ and ‘expected yield’ are used for the same purpose to explain the farmers’ belief or trust regarding of the potential yield of the certified/uncertified citrus seedlings.

  4. In the real experiment, following Miyata (2003) and Falk et al. (2016), we avoided to use the ‘lottery’ term because gambling activities are illegal and prohibited in the most culture and religious affiliation in the survey site. Practically, our enumerators explained to the respondents that the experiments are the scientific method to elicit the behavioural toward risk.

  5. See supplementary materials for more details.


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We would like to thank IPB University (Dr Arif Daryanto and Dr Sahara), Indonesian Centre for Horticultural Research and Development (ICHORD) teams, Dr Dale Yi, Henri Wira Perkasa and the enumerator team for their contribution to the research project. Finally, our appreciation to anonymous reviewers who have given helpful comments and suggestions.

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Codes are available from the corresponding author on request.


This research was undertaken as a part of the research project funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) (Indohort project AGB/2009/060) ‘Improving market integration for high-value fruit and vegetable production systems in Indonesia’.

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Authors and Affiliations



AMH (main contributor): questionnaire design, data curation, data analysis, conceptualization, methodology, writing–original draft and editing, visualization. DG: questionnaire design, writing–review and editing, supervision. RS: supervision, writing–review and editing, resources, research project leader.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Abdul Muis Hasibuan.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Hasibuan, A.M., Gregg, D. & Stringer, R. The role of certification, risk and time preferences in promoting adoption of climate-resilient citrus varieties in Indonesia. Climatic Change 164, 37 (2021).

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  • Subjective belief
  • Risk behaviours
  • Seedling certification
  • Perennial crop
  • Climate risk