Smallholder Farmers and Maize in Mexico: A Value-Chain Approach to Improved Targeting of Crop-Breeding Programs uri icon

abstract

  • Research on agricultural value chains can identify strategies for farmers to improve their incomes and livelihood security. The trend in such research, however, has often been to focus on making the chains more effective and efficient via improvements in the relationships between chain actors. Value-chain research has less frequently been applied to the seed sector in identifying how plant breeding can best produce seeds that generate a product with the quality characteristics demanded by output markets. In this article, we report on a research initiative to support maize-seed improvement for the central highlands of Mexico. The research was designed to identify quality traits, demanded in regional maize markets, to add to the list of targeted traits which typically guide plant breeding. We report on the methodological approach and the research findings. We then discuss how these findings are being integrated into ongoing maize-breeding programs for the central highlands of Mexico. We suggest that a value-chain analysis can provide useful guidance to crop-breeding programs, providing plant breeders with information on agronomic characteristics required by producers and quality traits demanded by the market

publication date

  • 2010
  • 2010