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Could farmer interest in a diversity of seed attributes explain adoption plateaus for modern maize varieties in Malawi?

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  • Lunduka, Rodney
  • Fisher, Monica
  • Snapp, Sieglinde
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    Abstract

    This study uses new data from a household survey (n=179) in Mulanje District, Malawi to examine whether the observed adoption plateaus for modern maize varieties in Malawi partly reflect farmer interest in a diversity of maize seed attributes. Regression results for the study area indicate that specific attributes of different maize varieties are an important influence on their use. The benefits to growing hybrid maize appear to be yield and drought tolerance. Open pollinated varieties are selected by farmers who value early maturity. Local maize varieties are popular among farm households owing to a number of favourable processing and consumption characteristics: storability, poundability, flour-to-grain ratio, and taste. Further research using nationally representative data is needed to assess whether findings for Mulanje District can be generalized to Malawi as a whole. If future studies agree with the results herein then maize breeding research programs in Malawi should consider a diversity of traits beyond grain yield to encompass the range of production, processing, and consumption attributes that are valued by farmers.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306919212000528
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Food Policy.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 504-510

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:37:y:2012:i:5:p:504-510

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/foodpol

    Related research

    Keywords: Agriculture; Maize adoption; Variety characteristics; Africa; Malawi;

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    1. Smale, Melinda & Byerlee, Derek & Jayne, Thom, 2011. "Maize revolutions in Sub-Saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5659, The World Bank.
    2. Smale, Melinda & Bellon, Mauricio R & Aguirre Gomez, Jose Alfonso, 2001. "Maize Diversity, Variety Attributes, and Farmers' Choices in Southeastern Guanajuato, Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(1), pages 201-25, October.
    3. Deon Filmer & Lant Pritchett, 2001. "Estimating Wealth Effects Without Expenditure Data—Or Tears: An Application To Educational Enrollments In States Of India," Demography, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 115-132, February.
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    6. Jonathan Kydd, 1989. "Maize research in Malawi: Lessons from failure," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(1), pages 112-144, January.
    7. Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132.
    8. Feder, Gershon & Just, Richard E & Zilberman, David, 1985. "Adoption of Agricultural Innovations in Developing Countries: A Survey," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 255-98, January.
    9. Renkow, Mitch & Byerlee, Derek, 2010. "The impacts of CGIAR research: A review of recent evidence," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 391-402, October.
    10. Staal, S. J. & Baltenweck, I. & Waithaka, M. M. & deWolff, T. & Njoroge, L., 2002. "Location and uptake: integrated household and GIS analysis of technology adoption and land use, with application to smallholder dairy farms in Kenya," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 295-315, November.
    11. Hintze, L. H. & Renkow, M. & Sain, G., 2003. "Variety characteristics and maize adoption in Honduras," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 29(3), pages 307-317, December.
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