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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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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/126669
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Paper provided by International Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil with number 126669.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae12:126669
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.iaae-agecon.org/
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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 & Singh, Joginder & Di Falco, Salvatore & Zambrano, Patricia, . "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.
  3. 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.
  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. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Tavneet Suri, 2011. "Selection and Comparative Advantage in Technology Adoption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(1), pages 159-209, 01.
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