Exploring the marketing environment for maize seed in Kenya: how competition and consumer preferences shape seed sector development. uri icon

abstract

  • During the past decade, sizable investments have been made to strengthen maize (Zea mays L.) seed production in Eastern and Southern Africa by private seed companies. However, efforts have generally overlooked downstream issues, such as how seed companies market their products and position their business in a competitive market. This paper assesses competition and customer preferences in Kenya at the retail level for varieties from the parastatal, private domestic and international companies. Data were collected from agro-dealer surveys (n = 80) and farmer intercept interviews (n = 377). Compared to the market leader, the parastatal Kenya Seed Company, private domestic and international companies provide greater value to farmers by selling varieties that are, on average, 10 years younger. However, these companies offer few late-maturing varieties, thus giving the parastatal a near monopoly in that market segment. Kenya Seed Company also excels at being present at all sales locations with their varieties. If private domestic companies focus more on smallholders with lower budgets (luding travel budget), they should consider the most cost-effective ways to extend their networks to remote areas as well as compete with the lower prices of Kenya Seed Company. Modern breeding programs should explicitly consider these marketing challenges when designing strategies for seed production and engagement with seed companies.

publication date

  • 2020
  • 2020