The impacts of hybrid maize seed on the welfare of farming households in Kenya

Title 
The impacts of hybrid maize seed on the welfare of farming households in Kenya 
Publication Type 
Journal Article 
Authors 
Mathenge MK, Smale M, Olwande J 
Year of Publication 
2014 
Volume 
44 
Journal 
Food Policy 
Pagination 
262 - 271 
Date Published 
02/2014 
ISSN 
03069192 
URL 
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306919213001413 
Keywords 
Household welfare, Input use, Kenya, Maize 
DOI 
10.1016/j.foodpol.2013.09.013 
Abstract 

Highlights

  • We estimate the impact of hybrid maize seed use on income, assets, poverty and inequality with a four-year panel data set of smallholder maize-growing households in Kenya.
  • Use of hybrid seed increases both total household income and the total value of assets.
  • Use of hybrid seed reduces inequality and the depth of poverty.
  • Impacts of hybrid seed use differ between major and minor maize-growing areas.

This paper explores the impacts of hybrid maize adoption on the welfare of farming households in Kenya. We use a four-year panel dataset to estimate the effects of hybrid seed use on four indicators of household welfare, namely, income, assets, inequality and poverty. Results show that use of hybrid seed not only contributes to higher annual income, but also to raising the value of assets, possibly reflecting longer-term welfare effects. Further, we find that use of hybrid seed reduces the depth of poverty, and that the amount planted reduces inequality. As expected, impacts differ between major and minor maize-growing areas of the country. Maize farmers who do not use hybrid seed are clearly disadvantaged. This calls for continued public and private investments in the infrastructure and policy process that supports a competitive, liberalized seed industry and improved access of smallholder farmers to well-adapted, affordable hybrids.

 
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