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The effectiveness of extension strategies for increasing the adoption of biofortified crops: the case of quality protein maize in East Africa

By: De Groote, H.
Contributor(s): Gunaratna, N.S | Fisher, M | Kebebe, E.G | Mmbando, F | Friesen, D.
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticlePublisher: New York : Springer, 2016Subject(s): Crops | Protein quality AGROVOC | East AfricaOnline resources: Access only for CIMMYT Staff In: Food Security v. 8, no. 6, p. 1101-1121Summary: Biofortified crops can be promoted with extension strategies based on their agronomic qualities, nutritional qualities, or both, but the effectiveness of these different strategies has so far not been studied. Since 2003, quality protein maize (QPM) has been disseminated using both approaches in East Africa. This study therefore analyzes the effectiveness of promoting biofortified crops based on their agronomic and their nutritional qualities, using the adoption of QPM cultivars in East Africa as an example. A random sample survey was conducted in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, with 423 households from QPM extension areas and 539 households from similar areas outside the extension zone. Propensity score matching and regression analysis were used to assess determinants of QPM adoption, including farmers’ awareness of QPM, understanding of its nutritional benefits, and evaluation of agronomic performance to evaluate the agronomic and nutritional extension strategies. Results showed high familiarity with QPM, but low understanding of nutritional benefits. Farmers evaluated QPM varieties as equal or superior to conventional maize for post-harvest traits, but not always for agronomic traits (in particular yield in Ethiopia and Tanzania). Adoption in extension areas varied from 73 % in Uganda and 25 % in Tanzania to none in Kenya. Key factors that increased adoption were farmers’ participation in extension, having heard of QPM, higher overall evaluation ratings of QPM vs. conventional maize varieties, and understanding of QPM’s nutritional benefits. Agronomic performance was found to be more important than an understanding of nutritional benefits. For biofortified crops to be adopted and have a nutritional impact on target populations, they should, first and foremost, be agronomically equal or superior to conventional varieties. If farmers are convinced of the agronomic performance of biofortified crops, additional gains in adoption can be achieved by focusing extension efforts on imparting to farmers knowledge of the benefits of biofortified crops for human nutrition.
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Article CIMMYT Knowledge Center: John Woolston Library

Lic. Jose Juan Caballero Flores

 

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Biofortified crops can be promoted with extension strategies based on their agronomic qualities, nutritional qualities, or both, but the effectiveness of these different strategies has so far not been studied. Since 2003, quality protein maize (QPM) has been disseminated using both approaches in East Africa. This study therefore analyzes the effectiveness of promoting biofortified crops based on their agronomic and their nutritional qualities, using the adoption of QPM cultivars in East Africa as an example. A random sample survey was conducted in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, with 423 households from QPM extension areas and 539 households from similar areas outside the extension zone. Propensity score matching and regression analysis were used to assess determinants of QPM adoption, including farmers’ awareness of QPM, understanding of its nutritional benefits, and evaluation of agronomic performance to evaluate the agronomic and nutritional extension strategies. Results showed high familiarity with QPM, but low understanding of nutritional benefits. Farmers evaluated QPM varieties as equal or superior to conventional maize for post-harvest traits, but not always for agronomic traits (in particular yield in Ethiopia and Tanzania). Adoption in extension areas varied from 73 % in Uganda and 25 % in Tanzania to none in Kenya. Key factors that increased adoption were farmers’ participation in extension, having heard of QPM, higher overall evaluation ratings of QPM vs. conventional maize varieties, and understanding of QPM’s nutritional benefits. Agronomic performance was found to be more important than an understanding of nutritional benefits. For biofortified crops to be adopted and have a nutritional impact on target populations, they should, first and foremost, be agronomically equal or superior to conventional varieties. If farmers are convinced of the agronomic performance of biofortified crops, additional gains in adoption can be achieved by focusing extension efforts on imparting to farmers knowledge of the benefits of biofortified crops for human nutrition.

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