Filling a Niche? The Maize Productivity Impacts of Adaptive Breeding by a Local Seed Company in Kenya

52 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2020 Last revised: 4 Jan 2021

See all articles by Samuel S. Bird

Samuel S. Bird

Luther College

Michael Carter

University of California, Davis

Travis J. Lybbert

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Mary Mathenge

Egerton University

Timothy Njagi Njeru

Egerton University

Emilia Tjernström

The University of Sydney - School of Economics; University of Sydney

Date Written: August 2020

Abstract

This paper explores the idea that competitive seed systems may underserve farmers in small, agro-ecological niches, leaving those farmers less productive and poorer than they need be. We develop a theoretical model of the confluence of demand and supply factors that can result in such an equilibrium. We then empirically study the disruption of the maize seed market in Western Kenya that took place when public sector foundation breeding and social impact investment capital together allowed a local seed company to expand and target the area with adaptively-bred maize varieties. A three-year RCT reveals that these seed varieties increased farmer yields and revenues, both for better-resourced farmers (who used non-adapted hybrids and fertilizer prior to the intervention) as well less well-resourced farmers (who did not). This theoretical and empirical evidence suggests news ways for thinking about seeds systems in areas typified by high levels of agro-ecological heterogeneity.

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Suggested Citation

Bird, Samuel S. and Carter, Michael and Lybbert, Travis J. and Mathenge, Mary and Njeru, Timothy Njagi and Tjernström, Emilia, Filling a Niche? The Maize Productivity Impacts of Adaptive Breeding by a Local Seed Company in Kenya (August 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27636, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3670471

Samuel S. Bird (Contact Author)

Luther College ( email )

United States

Michael Carter

University of California, Davis ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Apt 153
Davis, CA 95616
United States

Travis J. Lybbert

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States

Mary Mathenge

Egerton University

Njoro
United States

Timothy Njagi Njeru

Egerton University

Njoro
United States

Emilia Tjernström

The University of Sydney - School of Economics ( email )

School of Economics
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://emiliatjernstrom.com/

University of Sydney ( email )

P.O. Box H58
Australia Square
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://emiliatjernstrom.com

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