Hybrid maize seeds and the yields they make possible can make a big difference for small-scale farmers in developing economies worldwide, especially those who are at risk of poverty and food insecurity. However, low adoption rates are common, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
A randomized controlled trial in Kenya led by Michael Carter, a professor of agricultural and resource economics and director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Assets and Market Access at UC Davis, tested whether hybrid maize seeds tailored for western Kenya’s mid-altitude regions could increase yields and income for small-scale farmers.
“We found that making those seeds available had a very large impact on maize productivity,” Carter said. “So there really was something in those seeds that was different.”