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The impact of improved maize germplasm on poverty alleviation: The case of tuxpeño-derived material in Mexico

By: Bellon, M.R | Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo (CIMMYT), Mexico DF (Mexico) | International Conference on Impacts of Agricultural Research and Development San José (Costa Rica) 4-7 Feb 2002.
Contributor(s): Adato, M [coaut.] | Aguirre Gómez, J.A [coaut.] | Becerril, J [coaut.] | Watson, D.J [ed.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookAnalytics: Show analyticsPublisher: Mexico, DF (Mexico) CIMMYT : 2003Description: p. 52.ISBN: 970-648-076-5.Subject(s): Economic analysis | Farmers | Germplasm | Maize | Mexico | Poverty | Seed production | Technological | CIMMYT | Farming systems AGROVOCSummary: Improved maize varieties have been available in Mexico for more than 40 years. Unfortunately, diffusion of these varieties has been relatively limited, despite repeated government campaigns to encourage use of improved seed. However, the relatively low rate of diffusion may give a misleading impression of the true impacts of improved germplasm on the welfare of rural households. A growing body of evidence suggests that many small-scale, subsistence-oriented farmers have taken up improved varieties and through their management transformed them to better suit their needs. This process can be seen as a "middle way" by which scientific technology is adapted to local farmer conditions, thus serving as a vehicle by which the poor benefit from improved technology. The objective of this study is to assess the impact of improved maize germplasm on rural poverty in lowland tropical Mexico. Its focus is on the Tuxpeño germplasm complex, which has been subjected to an intensive breeding effort by the International Maize and wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and its national partner INIFAP during the 1ast forty years. The study involved three separate but related activities: 1) measuring the diffusi6n, local adaptation, and use of improved maize germplasm; 2) understanding how choices about adaptation are linked to the livelihood strategies and vulnerability context of rural households, and; 3) assessing the impacts of adoption on the welfare of rural households. Different methodologies such as participatory methods, ethnography, case studies, a household sample survey and a collection of agronomic evaluation of maize samples were used. Twelve communities, with different degrees of marginality (very high, high, and medium) were selected in two of the poorest states in Mexico (Oaxaca and Chiapas). This was done with the help of a geographic information system (GIS) that synthesizes information on marginality, formal distribution of improved germplasm, and the agroecological adaptation of improved Tuxpeño germplasm. In the twelve communities, a series of focus group discussions were organized to assess technical issues regarding maize production and variety adoption. In eight of them, additional focus groups were organized with poor and relatively wealthy informants to understand their livelihood strategies. Finally, in four of them, in-depth case studies on the local livelihoods were carried out with selected households. Based on the qualitative information generated with the focus groups, a survey has been developed and a sample survey will be implemented in the twelve communities. The survey includes a section on farmers' evaluation of maize types grown in terms of traits previously identified as important using participatory methods. This should allow a comparison of the different maize types based on farmers' perceptions. Finally, grow-outs of the collected maize samples, as well as sample from available commercial varieties, will be carried out to quantify the agronomic differences among the samples and assess how the adapted maize compares to the original products of breeding.Collection: CIMMYT Staff Publications Collection
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Conference proceedings CIMMYT Knowledge Center: John Woolston Library

Lic. Jose Juan Caballero Flores

 

CIMMYT Staff Publications Collection CIS-3797 (Browse shelf) 1 Available 632436
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Abstract only

Improved maize varieties have been available in Mexico for more than 40 years. Unfortunately, diffusion of these varieties has been relatively limited, despite repeated government campaigns to encourage use of improved seed. However, the relatively low rate of diffusion may give a misleading impression of the true impacts of improved germplasm on the welfare of rural households. A growing body of evidence suggests that many small-scale, subsistence-oriented farmers have taken up improved varieties and through their management transformed them to better suit their needs. This process can be seen as a "middle way" by which scientific technology is adapted to local farmer conditions, thus serving as a vehicle by which the poor benefit from improved technology. The objective of this study is to assess the impact of improved maize germplasm on rural poverty in lowland tropical Mexico. Its focus is on the Tuxpeño germplasm complex, which has been subjected to an intensive breeding effort by the International Maize and wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and its national partner INIFAP during the 1ast forty years. The study involved three separate but related activities: 1) measuring the diffusi6n, local adaptation, and use of improved maize germplasm; 2) understanding how choices about adaptation are linked to the livelihood strategies and vulnerability context of rural households, and; 3) assessing the impacts of adoption on the welfare of rural households. Different methodologies such as participatory methods, ethnography, case studies, a household sample survey and a collection of agronomic evaluation of maize samples were used. Twelve communities, with different degrees of marginality (very high, high, and medium) were selected in two of the poorest states in Mexico (Oaxaca and Chiapas). This was done with the help of a geographic information system (GIS) that synthesizes information on marginality, formal distribution of improved germplasm, and the agroecological adaptation of improved Tuxpeño germplasm. In the twelve communities, a series of focus group discussions were organized to assess technical issues regarding maize production and variety adoption. In eight of them, additional focus groups were organized with poor and relatively wealthy informants to understand their livelihood strategies. Finally, in four of them, in-depth case studies on the local livelihoods were carried out with selected households. Based on the qualitative information generated with the focus groups, a survey has been developed and a sample survey will be implemented in the twelve communities. The survey includes a section on farmers' evaluation of maize types grown in terms of traits previously identified as important using participatory methods. This should allow a comparison of the different maize types based on farmers' perceptions. Finally, grow-outs of the collected maize samples, as well as sample from available commercial varieties, will be carried out to quantify the agronomic differences among the samples and assess how the adapted maize compares to the original products of breeding.

Socioeconomics Program

English

0309|R01CIMPU|AGRIS 0301|AL-Economics Program

Juan Carlos Mendieta

CIMMYT Staff Publications Collection

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