Kenya has increasingly relied on modern agricultural technology to increase productivity since land extensification is no longer a feasible option to satisfy national food demands. Hybrid maize varieties have been one of the more successful technologies developed, responsible for dramatic yield increases in the developed world since World War II and more recently as an integral part of the Green Revolution. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the factors that affect the adoption of hybrid maize varieties in Kenya. A household survey was conducted to collect data on demographic and socioeconomic factors, as well as to elicit farmers’ perceptions of the agronomic and consumption benefits of hybrid maize compared to open pollinated varieties. Using econometric (discrete choice) models, results showed that farmers’ perceive that hybrid maize provides significant benefits in obtaining higher yields, but are less effective protecting against drought. Several other demographic and socioeconomic variables also had positive effects on hybrid maize adoption including access to modern farm equipment, distance to market, age, gender, education level and occupation of the household head. As Kenya and other African countries look to biotechnology as a means to increase productivity, the seed industry will need to continue finding ways to develop genetically modified maize to improve drought protection.
Key words: Hybrid maize, adoption, open pollinated variety, farmer’s preference, Kenya.
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