Presentation: Filling a Niche

Early hybrid maize breeding in Kenya targeted the high elevation, “highland tropics,” zone of the Rift Valley.  CIMMYT research on hybrid adoption in Kenya distinguished this highland zone from mid-altitude and transitional zones. Moving west to east from Lake Victoria to the Rift Valley, one first traverses the mid-altitude zone and then climbs up through the transitional zone before reaching the highland tropics zone in the Rift Valley. The cutoff between mid-altitude and transitional zones is around 1500 meters above sea level. The higher altitude, moist transitional zone is the most similar of the two to the growing environments of the Rift Valley and Central Kenya. Studies from the 1970s through the 1990s found that adoption rate for hybrids were already relatively high in the transitional zone but low in the mid-altitude zone.

This presentation is based on the AMA Innovation Lab project Evaluating the Socio-economic Impacts of Western Seed's Hybrid Maize Program in Kenya. This project seeks to analyze the impacts of Western Seed Company's (WSC) hybrid maize program on the welfare of smallholder farmers in Kenya's mid-altitude regions.

This presentation took place at the Sarova Panafric Hotel Nairobi, Kenya on February 8, 2017.