Filling a niche? The maize productivity impacts of adaptive breeding by a local seed company in Kenya

This paper examines whether the absence of locally adapted seed varieties constrains the productivity and incomes of farm households residing in small, agro-ecological niches. It examines the disruption of the maize seed market that occurred in Western Kenya when a local seed company was supported through a public-private partnership to expand and target a niche area with adaptively-bred maize varieties. The three-year randomized controlled trial revealed that these seed varieties increased yields and revenues, both for better-resourced farmers (who used non-adapted hybrids and fertilizer prior to the intervention) as well as less well-resourced farmers (who did not). This evidence suggests news ways for thinking about seed systems in agro-ecological niche areas.

Read the full paper in Journal of Development Economics