Is maize production economically competitive in the coastal lowlands of Kenya? Evidence from a farm level empirical study

Is maize production economically competitive in the coastal lowlands of Kenya? Evidence from a farm level empirical study 
Publication Type 
Conference Paper 
Danda MK, Mulinge WM, Lutta M, Lewa KK, Ndung‘u JM 
Year of Publication 
Beverly Scientific Organisation (BSO) 
Conference Location 
Port Harcoirt, Nigeria 
Number of Volumes 
Conference Name 
International Conference on Agriculture, Science and Engineering (ICASE2012)  
225 - 231 
Date Published 
ISBN Number 
Accession Number 
Legal Deposit no. MU-0704-2012  
Call Number 
Index Reg. no. 08/114403  
agro-eco-potential, coastal lowlands, costs, gross margins economically competitive, Maize, management and intercropping, yields, zones 

Maize is a world-wide important crop both as a staple and a cash crop. In most countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, maize is the major source of energy as well as the bulk of human ration. In Kenya, maize is grown across all agroecopotential zones including zone 5 and 6 which are more suitable for millet and ranching. It is grown mainly for human consumption even where the scale of production extends beyond subsistence motives. Production zones in Kenya have been categorized into six types based on agro-ecological potential. These include the moist mid-altitude, the highlands, moist transitional, dry transitional, dry mid-altitude and the lowland tropics. Production patterns and yields in these zones differ due to adaptable variety differences, pest and disease challenges and management regimes. The coastal lowlands of Kenya are characterized by varied agro-eco-potential ranging from the coastal lowland (CL) 2 to CL6 with characteristically high temperatures that are conducive for pest build-up especially the stem-borer and inherent shallow soils with low fertility. Comparative production costs per acre for the low/medium input small scale farmers in Central, Western, North Rift and the coastal lowlands are KES 18,757/=, 19,235/=, 25,000/= and 16,890/= respectively while gross margins are KES 1,718/=, 10,990/=, 20,100/= and 14,658/= respectively and in the order of the regions. In the coastal lowlands, variations in the expenditures and revenue streams were however different for the two niches. In niches 1 and 2, gross margins of KES 16,820/= and KES 9,613/= per acre were realized while on the cost streams, labor dominated by 72.5% and 80% in the respective niches. Benefit to costs ratios of 2:1 and 1.6:1 were also r ealized for the two niches. The results demonstrated positive economic competitiveness for the maize enterprise in the coastal region. However niche-based interventions are recommended in order to enhance the enterprise profitability. The Interventions include increasing land parcels under maize for economies of scale, optimal devotion of inputs such as organic manures, intercropping with pulses (cowpeas or green grams) and timely weeding that will reduce the overall cost of labor. Relatively cheap land preparation methods such as use of draught oxen are also recommended.

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