An AMA Innovation Lab randomized controlled trial in western Kenya recently explored how the region's local agroecological conditions might affect hybrid maize yields and their potential to impact poverty and food security.
Hybrid seeds tailored to local agro-ecological conditions boost productivity, so what can policy makers and seed developers do to make them more widely available for farmers?
Successfully tailoring improved inputs to local environment is a complex challenge in helping smallholder farmers to achieve higher yields. Weather, altitude, type and quality of soil, and many other conditions need to be taken into consideration. One Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Assets and Market Access project recently evaluated the impact of a hybrid maize program on the welfare of smallholder farmers in Kenya’s mid-altitude regions. One question the project examined was the effectiveness of a local seed company in developing technologies fine tuned to the local agro-ecological environment. A recent Agrilinks blog post features this research.
Two other AMA Innovation Lab research projects also looked into how customized fertilizer and seed packages reflecting soil-specific input may succeed where one-size-fits-all policies have failed. A recent Agrilinks webinar on soil variation and why it matters links all three projects together and provides resources that will help guide this discussion.
Please join in and share your thoughts on the main question posed above on increasing the availability of hybrid seed for farmers, or any other aspect of this important topic.