This paper examines the factors influencing smallholder farmers’ adoption decision of hybrid maize in drought prone Central Rift Valley (CRV) of Ethiopia. The analysis is based on data collected through a questionnaire survey of 277 randomly selected maize grower farm household heads. Binary response Logit model was employed in the data analysis. Hybrid maize adoption in the CRV was found to be influenced by age, years of formal education, farmland size, the proportion of farmland allocated to maize, frequency of extension visit, grain market distance and altitude. Extension visit was negatively associated with hybrid maize adoption contrary to the prevailing beliefs and the earlier findings. Extension workers have been promoting open pollinated varieties (OPVs) maize since the OPVs have been more common in drought prone area though the farmers in the CRV also producing hybrids. Even though the prevailing maize hybrids have essentially been released for high potential areas, the production of these hybrids is currently expanding in the CRV where it is grown by 30% of the farmers. Likewise, hybrid maize adoption in this area offers better opportunity for private seed companies’ involvement in the seed provision of adapted hybrids. A paradigm shift in the maize breeding efforts and extension service on hybrid for drought prone areas is commendable in order to enhance the food security of smallholder farmers in the CRV.
Key words: adoption, Central Rift Valley, hybrid maize, drought prone.
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