Millet transactions in market fairs, millet diversity and farmer welfare in Mali
Although farmers in the Malian Sahel depend on millet for survival, demand and supply constraints have impeded their use of certified seed. We use data collected from households, vendors and seed samples to test the way market purchases of grain and seed affect household food consumption and millet genetic diversity. Purchase of millet grain in markets contributes to food security, but reduces dietary diversity – suggesting that scarce cash was directed toward meeting staple food needs first. Farmers purchased millet grain for seed only in the site with riskier rainfall and smaller market fairs. Although they were more likely to purchase in markets where the genetic dissimilarity of seed was higher, purchasing seed in markets was negatively associated with on-farm diversity. Seed shortage rather than variety experimentation appears to be the motivation for seed purchase. Introducing certified seed in rural markets through small-scale traders will require the provision of market services and promotional efforts.
Volume (Year): 17 (2012)
Issue (Month): 05 (October)
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