Lassa Fever Information, Consumers’ Preference and Behaviour: The Case of Cassava Products in Lagos State

Keywords: Cassava, Lassa fever, Information, gaari, Lagos State

The nature of information risk perception influences consumers‟ food choices and behaviour. Lassa fever and the risk of contracting it have long been in the news and other information sources. This study examines how information about Lassa fever affects consumers‟ perception of food safety, their preferences and behaviour towards gaari and other cassava products. Information was elicited using a well-structured questionnaire, from Three Hundred and Twenty respondents selected using a multi-stage sampling method for the study. Descriptive statistics such as mean and standard, plus linear and logistic regressions were deployed for the analyses. Results showed that the mean age of respondents was 40.843 and the standard deviation was 13.675. The highest level of their education was 19 years. Respondents were aware of Lassa fever information and the risk of contracting it. Based on this, respondents ranked gaari and cassava products from ogun states (Mean=5.495; SD=1.526) higher than the other four states (Mean between 3.1 and 3.5) on safety. Results further showed that respondents prefered gaari and cassava products packaged ceiled and state-of-original labelled (SOR7). The result of the regression analyses showed that the factors that affect consumers' attitudes toward stateof-origin information and safety labelling, showed that Level of education, Age, Household size, and gender (female) were the significant factors. Regression results also showed that older people tend to care more about SOR7 while consumers with higher consumption care more about Packaging and labelling for food safety. Good processing and storage of cassava products along the value chain and good food safety information management by marketers and government agencies would help to reduce the risk of contracting Lassa fever through gaari and other cassava products in Lagos state.