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Is Older Better? Maize Hybrid Change on Household Farms in Kenya


  • Olwande, John
  • Smale, Melinda


A globally-recognized maize “success story” since the 1970s, Kenya’s first maize hybrid diffused faster than did hybrids in the U.S Corn Belt during the 1930s-1940s. Today, a hybrid released in 1986 still dominates on farms in Kenya, despite the dramatic increase in the number of hybrids, breadth of seed suppliers, and range of hybrids sold as seed markets liberalize. Claims of stagnating yields and stagnating adoption are offset here, at least in part, by longitudinal survey data showing rising yields and adoption rates on farms. However, as the overall percent of maize farmers growing hybrids tops 80 percent and the seed industry matures, the slow pace of hybrid replacement may still be cause for concern. This paper begins an exploration of factors affecting the age of hybrids on farms in Kenya. We find a strong farmer response to the seed-to-grain price ratio—evidence of a commercial orientation even on household farms, and also of the need to “get (seed) prices right” in the industry.

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  • Olwande, John & Smale, Melinda, 2012. "Is Older Better? Maize Hybrid Change on Household Farms in Kenya," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126669, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae12:126669

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chamberlin, Jordan & Jayne, Thomas S., 2009. "Has Kenyan Farmers’ Access to Markets and Services Improved? Panel Survey Evidence, 1997-2007," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 58545, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    2. Smale, Melinda & Byerlee, Derek & Jayne, Thom S., 2011. "Maize Revolutions in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 202592, Egerton University, Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development.
    3. Tavneet Suri, 2011. "Selection and Comparative Advantage in Technology Adoption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(1), pages 159-209, January.
    4. Kirimi, Lilian & Sitko, Nicholas & Jayne, Thom S. & Karin, Francis & Muyanga, Milu & Sheahan, Megan & Flock, James & Bor, Gilbert, 2011. "A Farm Gate-to-Consumer Value Chain Analysis of Kenya's Maize Marketing System," Working Papers 202597, Egerton University, Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development.
    5. Haggblade, Steven & Hazell, Peter B. R. (ed.), 2010. "Successes in African agriculture: Lessons for the future," IFPRI books, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), number 978-0-8018-9503-6, Winter.
    6. Melinda Smale & Joginder Singh & Salvatore Di Falco & Patricia Zambrano, 2008. "Wheat breeding, productivity and slow variety change: evidence from the Punjab of India after the Green Revolution ," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 52(4), pages 419-432, December.
    7. Van Dusen, M. Eric, 2000. "In Situ Conservation Of Crop Genetic Resources In The Mexican Milpa System," Dissertations 11941, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    8. Jacob Ricker-Gilbert & Thomas S. Jayne & Ephraim Chirwa, 2010. "Subsidies and Crowding Out: A Double-Hurdle Model of Fertilizer Demand in Malawi," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(1), pages 26-42.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mutoko, Morgan C. & Hein, Lars & Bartholomeus, Harm, 2014. "Integrated analysis of land use changes and their impacts on agrarian livelihoods in the western highlands of Kenya," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 1-12.

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    Consumer/Household Economics; Crop Production/Industries;

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