Perception of risk sources by chilean blueberry producers

Abstract The biological and environmental nature of the agricultural production implies that growers operate in an environment of greater risk as compared to other economic activities. This has implications on the manner in which the growers can manage the risks inherent to their activity, which depends on how they perceive the risks and on the degree of aversion to risk. The main objective of this study was to learn about the perception of the main sources of risk that blueberry growers face in the Maule Region, Chile. This Region has about 25% of the planted area of this species in Chile. We used information from questionnaires implemented in 124 fields which considered two independent groups of growers: 48 owners and 76 managers. A scale of Importance of the Sources of Risk (ISR) was used. It included 13 items that the interviewed had to rank according to their importance through a Likert-type scale of four levels. The exploratory analysis allowed to infer that the ISR scale had adequate levels of internal consistency (Cronbach´s alpha = 0.83). The results showed that the climatic events are perceived by the growers as the main source of risk for blueberry production in Chile. The analysis also showed that the price of the product and the currency exchange rate are the next risks in importance for the field owners. On the other hand, the risks for the managers were, in decreasing order of importance: yield, product price, variability in sales, and volumes for sale. The knowledge of the perception of risk by the growers is a fundamental input for designing instruments of agricultural policies, risk management and support programs for the growers.