Recycling Hybrid Maize Varieties: Is It Backward Practice or Innovative Response to Adverse Conditions in Kenya?
Hybrid varieties have significantly contributed to increased maize proclivity in Kenya and other SSA countries. A number of factors limit access of farmers to maize varieties, smallholder farmers have sort an alternative option of recycling the hybrid maize seeds. Seeds are carefully selected based on cob and grain size during or before harvest after which they are preserved. hybrid yielding maize varieties (HYMV) developers and disseminators observe that there is a progressive yield decrease of recycling HYMV. The question is Is it economical to recycle HYMV or an innovation that farmers can practice?. This study was designed to evaluate the yield losses and benefits of hybrid maize recycling in Kenya. Through key informants, farmers who grew both certified seed and recycled maize were identified. For on farm trial (OFT), sixty two (62) farmers who recycled hybrid maize varieties and 30 who grew certified seeds were randomly selected while for the On station trial (OST), the trial was laid out in a completely randomized block design replicated four time with plots measuring 100M square. For the OFT, two plots of 100 square meters were superimposed on farmers fields both on recycled and fresh seed. Input and output levels in the plots were identified and valued. The results showed that the yield decreases at an increasing rate. Yield losses for Double crosses low compared to the Top crosses. The yield levels of recycled Top cross reduced by 16%, 17% and 32 while that for double crosses decreased by 20%, 37% and 46% for the first, second and third recycling generations respectively. However, positive net benefits are attained in recycling HYMV. This implies that it is beneficial to recycle HYMV up-to the third generation level. However at regional and national level food security objectives is comprised. This demands that incentives to discourage farmers from recycling may be sought through development of OPVs which can be recycled if national objective of food security has to be enhanced. From the logit results the major significantly influencing factors in recycling HYMVs are amount of credit, fertilizer, wealth and extension contact.
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