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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

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Lunduka, Rodney & Fisher, Monica & Snapp, Sieglinde, 2012. "Could farmer interest in a diversity of seed attributes explain adoption plateaus for modern maize varieties in Malawi?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 504-510.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:37:y:2012:i:5:p:504-510
    DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2012.05.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Muange, Elijah Nzula & Schwarze, Stefan & Qaim, Matin, 2014. "Social networks and farmer exposure to improved cereal varieties in central Tanzania," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 182645, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Bezu, Sosina & Kassie, Girma T. & Shiferaw, Bekele & Ricker-Gilbert, Jacob, 2014. "Impact of Improved Maize Adoption on Welfare of Farm Households in Malawi: A Panel Data Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 120-131.
    3. Mutenje, Munyaradzi & Kankwamba, Henry & Mangisonib, Julius & Kassie, Menale, 2016. "Agricultural innovations and food security in Malawi: Gender dynamics, institutions and market implications," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 240-248.
    4. Kurt B. Waldman & David L. Ortega & Robert B. Richardson & Daniel C. Clay & Sieglinde Snapp, 2016. "Preferences for legume attributes in maize-legume cropping systems in Malawi," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 8(6), pages 1087-1099, December.
    5. Reimer, Jeffrey & Fisher, Monica, 2014. "Are modern varieties always better? An economic analysis of maize varietal selection," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 9(4), December.
    6. Sheahan, Megan & Barrett, Christopher B., 2014. "Understanding the agricultural input landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa : recent plot, household, and community-level evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7014, The World Bank.
    7. Saenz, Mariana & Thompson, Eric, 2017. "Gender and Policy Roles in Farm Household Diversification in Zambia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 152-169.
    8. Holden, Stein, 2014. "Agricultural Household Models for Malawi:Household Heterogeneity, Market Characteristics, Agricultural Productivity, Input Subsidies, and Price Shocks. A Baseline Report," CLTS Working Papers 5/14, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies.
    9. Larson,Donald F. & Muraoka,Rie & Otsuka,Keijiro, 2016. "On the central role of small farms in African rural development strategies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7710, The World Bank.
    10. Wouter Zant, 2014. "Do Organic Inputs in African Subsistence Agriculture Raise Productivity? Evidence from Plot Data of Malawi Household Surveys," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-114/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    11. repec:eee:wdevel:v:97:y:2017:i:c:p:251-265 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Fisher, Monica & Kandiwa, Vongai, 2014. "Can agricultural input subsidies reduce the gender gap in modern maize adoption? Evidence from Malawi," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 101-111.
    13. Silvestre García de Jalón & Ana Iglesias & Andrew P. Barnes, 2016. "Drivers of farm-level adaptation to climate change in Africa: an evaluation by a composite index of potential adoption," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 21(5), pages 779-798, June.
    14. Ricker-Gilbert, Jacob & Jones, Michael, 2015. "Does storage technology affect adoption of improved maize varieties in Africa? Insights from Malawi’s input subsidy program," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 92-105.
    15. Raghu, Prabhakaran T. & Erenstein, Olaf & Böber, Christian & Krishna, Vijesh V., 0. "Adoption and Outcomes of Hybrid Maize in the Marginal Areas of India," Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, vol. 54.
    16. Ortega, David L. & Waldman, Kurt B. & Richardson, Robert B. & Clay, Daniel C. & Snapp, Sieglinde, 2016. "Sustainable Intensification and Farmer Preferences for Crop System Attributes: Evidence from Malawi’s Central and Southern Regions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 139-151.
    17. Melinda Smale & John Olwande, 2014. "Demand for maize hybrids and hybrid change on smallholder farms in Kenya," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 45(4), pages 409-420, July.
    18. Fisher, Monica & Holden , Stein T. & Katengeza, Samson P., 2017. "The adoption potential of Conservation Agriculture technologies in Malawi: A lead farmer promoter-adopter approach and assessment," CLTS Working Papers 1/17, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies.

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