Past and potential impacts of maize research in sub-Saharan Africa: a critical assessment uri icon

abstract

  • Over the past twenty years, research progress in maize, the single most important food staple in sub-Saharan Africa, has been comparable to progress in other primarily smallholder maize systems in the developing world, Both the number of varietal releases per million hectares of maize and the adoption of improved maize varieties and hybrids are similar to the rates achieved in other regions, This has occurred despite fewer maize breeders per million tons of maize, greater reliance on the public sector, and somewhat more diverse production environments in sub-Saharan Africa, Nonetheless, adoption of improved maize materials has remained patchy, constrained in some cases by failure to incorporate smallholder preferences adequately, and in others by insufficient supporting infrastructure, particularly in development of seed systems, Furthermore, despite an apparently greater investment in crop management research in the region relative to other developing areas, appropriate technology for maintenance of soil fertility in the face of increasing population pressure requires much more attention, This technology will require a combination of both external and internal sources of nutrients, Crop management technology must also be evaluated in terms of effects on seasonal labor demand, Because of the relative diversity in African environments and infrastructural constraints, high-payoff maize technology in sub-Saharan Africa will require particularly careful attention to areas outside maize research itself-policy design, institution building, and human capital development
  • Over the past twenty years, research progress in maize, the single most important food staple in sub-saharan Africa, has been comparable to progress in other primarily smallholder maize systems in the developing world, Both the number of varietal releases per million hectares of maize and the adoption of improved maize varieties and hybrids are similar to the rates achieved in other regions, This has occurred despite fewer maize breeders per million tons of maize, greater reliance on the public sector, and somewhat more diverse production environments in sub-Saharan Africa, Nonetheless, adoption of improved maize materials has remained patchy, constrained in some cases by failure to incorporate smallholder preferences adequately, and in others by insufficient supporting infrastructure, particularly in development of seed systems, Furthermore, despite an apparently greater investment in crop management research in the region relative to other developing areas, appropriate technology for maintenance of soil fertility in the face of increasing population pressure requires much more attention, This technology will require a combination of both external and internal sources of nutrients, Crop management technology must also be evaluated in terms of effects on seasonal labor demand, Because of the relative diversity in African environments and infrastructural constraints, high-payoff maize technology in sub-Saharan Africa will require particularly careful attention to areas outside maize research itself-policy design, institution building, and human capital development. Copyright (C) 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd.

publication date

  • 1996
  • 1996
  • 1996