Link to home

Understanding Growers' Decisions to Manage Invasive Pathogens at the Farm Level

June 2012 , Volume 102 , Number  6
Pages  609 - 619

Annemarie Breukers, Marcel van Asseldonk, Johan Bremmer, and Volkert Beekman

First and second authors: LEI, part of Wageningen UR, P.O. Box 8130, 6700 EW, Wageningen, The Netherlands; and third and fourth authors: LEI, part of Wageningen UR, P.O. Box 29703, 2502 LS, The Hague, The Netherlands.

Go to article:
Accepted for publication 23 February 2012.

Globalization causes plant production systems to be increasingly threatened by invasive pests and pathogens. Much research is devoted to support management of these risks. Yet, the role of growers' perceptions and behavior in risk management has remained insufficiently analyzed. This article aims to fill this gap by addressing risk management of invasive pathogens from a sociopsychological perspective. An analytical framework based on the Theory of Planned Behavior was used to explain growers' decisions on voluntary risk management measures. Survey information from 303 Dutch horticultural growers was statistically analyzed, including regression and cluster analysis. It appeared that growers were generally willing to apply risk management measures, and that poor risk management was mainly due to perceived barriers, such as high costs and doubts regarding efficacy of management measures. The management measures applied varied considerably among growers, depending on production sector and farm-specific circumstances. Growers' risk perception was found to play a role in their risk management, although the causal relation remained unclear. These results underscore the need to apply a holistic perspective to farm level management of invasive pathogen risk, considering the entire package of management measures and accounting for sector- and farm-specific circumstances. Moreover, they demonstrate that invasive pathogen risk management can benefit from a multidisciplinary approach that incorporates growers' perceptions and behavior.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society