• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Copyright
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 List of Figures
 Acknowledgement
 Introduction
 Characterization of maize agroecological...
 Maize production systems and trends...
 Maize production constraints
 Priorities for maize research
 Discussion and conclusions
 Reference
 Back Cover






Title: Maize in China : production systems, constraints, and research priorities
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00077466/00001
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Title: Maize in China : production systems, constraints, and research priorities
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Meng, Erika C. H.
Publisher: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)
Publication Date: 2006
 Subjects
Subject: Farming   ( lcsh )
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Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00077466
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Resource Identifier: oclc - 9706481451
isbn - 970-648-145-1
oclc - 166922601

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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front cover
    Title Page
        Page i
    Copyright
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
    List of Tables
        Page v
    List of Figures
        Page vi
    Acknowledgement
        Page vii
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Characterization of maize agroecological environments in China
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    Maize production systems and trends in China
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
    Maize production constraints
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    Priorities for maize research
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Discussion and conclusions
        Page 65
        Page 66
    Reference
        Page 67
    Back Cover
        Back cover
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I












Maize in China:

Production Systems, Constraints, and

Research Priorities






Erika C.H. Meng1
Ruifa Hu2
Xiaohua Shi3


Shihuang Zhang4


JL
IFAD


CIMY
CIMMYT.M


SEconomist, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), El Batan, Mexico.
2 Professor, Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP), Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research,
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
3Lecturer, Department of Agriculture, Henan Institute of Science and Technology, Xinxiang, Henan, China.
4 Director and Professor, Maize Research Center, Institute of Crop Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS),
Beijing, China.






















CIMMYT (www.cimmyt.org) is an internationally funded, not-for-profit organization that conducts
research and training related to maize and wheat throughout the developing world. Drawing on strong
science and effective partnerships, CIMMYT works to create, share, and use knowledge and technology to
increase food security, improve the productivity and profitability of farming systems, and sustain natural
resources. Financial support for CIMMYT's work comes from many sources, including the members of the
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) (www.cgiar.org), national
governments, foundations, development banks, and other public and private agencies.

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) 2006. All rights reserved. The
designations employed in the presentation of materials in this publication do not imply the expression of
any opinion whatsoever on the part of CIMMYT or its contributory organizations concerning the legal status
of any country, territory, city, or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or
boundaries. CIMMYT encourages fair use of this material. Proper citation is requested.

Correct citation: Meng, E.C.H., Ruifa Hu, Xiaohua Shi, and Shihuang Zhang. 2006. Maize in China:
Production Systems, Constraints, and Research Priorities. Mexico, D.E: CIMMYT.

Abstract: This report was undertaken as part of a seven-country project to promote the sustainable
intensification of maize production systems in upland environments in Asia. Maize is cultivated throughout
China and plays a key role in farm households through its contribution to food, feed, and income. As one of
the primary sources of feed in China, it has played an important role in the rapid development of poultry and
livestock industries. Maize production environments are characterized in the report using findings from
primary farm and village level data collected across China's maize belt. An assessment of technological
constraints and needs of farm households is presented in the report, as well as the results of a maize research
priority-setting workshop, where farm and village level information and experience were utilized to focus on
the role of research and technology development in improving maize productivity. The identification of
constraints to maize production highlighted differences in the surveyed regions, but also revealed many
common problems encountered by maize farmers. Drought was targeted as a key constraint, along with others
such as poor on-farm crop management, lack of technology and information dissemination, and poor seed
quality. Participating farmers and scientists discussed a range of possible solutions to eliminate or minimize
the effect of the constraints. Some of the constraints can largely be addressed through technological solutions,
although the mere availability or development of technological solutions does not guarantee either their
accessibility to farmers or their on-farm use. A challenging and unique mix of government intervention and
liberalization of agricultural and market policies continue to influence maize production in China. Addressing
the complex set of identified priority constraints to future maize production will necessarily involve a
combination of science and policies to tackle the broader issues of markets, infrastructure, and farmer capacity.

ISBN: 970-648-145-1

AGROVOC Descriptors: Maize; Agricultural development; Technology transfer; Farming systems;
Cropping systems; Cropping patterns; Environmental factors; Research projects;
China; Asia

AGRIS Category Codes: E10 Agricultural Economics and Policies
F08 Cropping Patterns and Systems

Dewey Decimal Classif.: 633.15051


Printed in Mexico.










Contents









Page No.

Tables ............................................................................................................... ..................... v
Figures ........................................................................................................... ...................... vi
A know ledgm ents .................................................................................................................... vii

1. Introduction ................................................................................................................................... 1
1.1. Project and Report O objectives .................................................................. ..................... 1
1.2. Methodology for Farm-Level Data Collection............................ ....... .................. 1
1.3. Background ................................................................................................... ......................... 2
1.3.1. M aize production ................................................ .................................................... 2
1.3.2. M aize consume option ............................................. ................................................... 4

2. Characterization of Maize Agroecological Regions in China ........................................ 5
2.1. Overview of Maize Production Environments in China............................ ............ 5
2.1.1. N northeast Region ................................................ .................................................... 7
2.1.2. N north Region ......................................................................................... ........................ 7
2.1.3. N orthw est Region ................................................................ ......................................... 7
2.1.4. Yellow -H uai River V alley ................................................................ ...................... 8
2.1.5. South est Region ................................................ ................................................... 8
2.2. C dropping C calendar ....................................................................................... ........................ 8
2.3. M aize Production and Poverty ................................................................ ..................... 9
2.4. Survey Sites ................................................................................................. ......................... 10
2.5. C lim atic C conditions .................................................................................... ........................ 10
2.6. Infrastructure ............................................................................................ ........................... 14
2.6.1. Roads and transportation ................................................................ .................... 14
2.6.2. M markets .............................................................................................. ........................... 14
2.6.3. Irrigation infrastructure .................................................................. ..................... 15
2.7. Institutional Environm ent .......................................... ................................................. 16
2.7.1. Sources of inputs .............................................................................. ........................... 16
2.7.2. Farm er groups .................................................................................... ......................... 16
2.7.3. C credit institutions .............................................. ................................................... 16
2.7.4. O utput and input prices ................................................................. ..................... 18
2.8. Socioeconom ic Characteristics ............................................................... ..................... 19
2.8.1. H households .......................................................................................... ........................ 19
2.8.2. Ethnicity ................................................................. .................................................... 19
2.8.3. Education ............................................................... ................................................... 19
2.8.4. Land tenure .......................................................................................... ........................ 19
2.8.5. M aize utilization .............................................................................. ..................... 19
2.8.6. Characterization of variation in participating farmers .......................................... 25
2.8.7. Local perceptions of poverty and w health ........................... ..... ..................... 25

3. Maize Production Systems and Trends in China .......................................... ........... ... 27
3.1. M aize C dropping C calendar .......................................... ................................................. 27
3.2. M aize C dropping Patterns ......................................................................... .................... 29
3.2.1. Potential substitute crops for m aize ................................... ................................ 31
3.2.2. Tradeoffs betw een m aize and other crops ........................... ..... ..................... 31










Page No.
3.3. Land Preparation and Crop Management Practices ........................................................ 33
3.3.1. Land preparation and sowing ............................... ................................... 33
3.3.2. Crop management practices .......................................................... ..................... 34
3.4. Soil M anagem ent Practices .......................................... ................................................ 34
3 .5 M aize V varieties ........................................................................................... ............. ........... 37
3.5.1. Farm ers' preferred traits ................................................................. ..................... 37
3.5.2. C u ltivated varieties ............................................ .................................................. 38
3 .6 L ev el o f In p u t U se .................................................................................... ........................... 45
3.7. Sources of Technology Information ................................... ......... ........................... 45
3 .8 Y field s an d Y field G ap ................................................ .......................................................... 45
3.9. Post-H harvest Practices ................................................ .................................................. 45
3.10. Production and Utilization Trends................................... ....... ........................... 45
3.10.1. Trends in production .......................................... ................................................ 45
3.10.2. Trends in u utilization ....................................................................... ..................... 45

4. Maize Production Constraints........................................................................................... 52
4 .1. A b io tic C o n strain ts .................................................................................... ......................... 52
4.2. Biotic Constraints ................................ .. ......................................... 52
4.2.1. Major field diseases and insects ................................... ...... .......................... 52
4.2.2. Major storage insects and problems ................................... ................................ 52
4.3. Institutional and Economic Constraints........................... ................................ 52
4 .3 .1 In p u ts ................................................................................................... ............ ............ 5 2
4 .3 .2 T ech n o lo g y ........................................................................................... ........... ............ 56
4 .3 .3 M ark ets ................................................................................................ ............. ........... 56

5. Priorities for Maize Research ............................................................................................. 57
5.1. Methodology for Research Prioritization ................................... .............................. 57
5.2. Farmer-Scientist Constraint Prioritization................................... .............................. 57
5.3. N national Research Priorities ................................................................... ..................... 60
5.4. Regional Maize System Research Priorities.......................... ............... ............................. 61

6. D discussion and C onclu sions................................................................... ........ ............. 65

7. R references .............................................................................................................................. 67










Tables




Page No.


Table 1.1. C hina's m aize economy y, 1970-2003 ............................................... ................. ........................................... 3
Table 1.2. Cereal and maize area, yield, and production in China, 1981-2003........................... ...... ................ 3
Table 1.3. Growth rates of production, sown area, and yields for maize and other cereal crops in China, 1970-2003..... 3
Table 1.4. Average yield and growth rates for maize in selected countries, 1970-2005. ..............................................4
Table 1.5. Per capital maize consumption in China, 1981-2000. ............................................. ............................... 4
Table 2.1. M aize agroecological regions in China ................................................................. ...................................... 6
Table 2.2. Rural population, arable land, crops and maize sown area in agroecological regions in China, 1998-2000. ... 6
Table 2.3. Maize production in five agroecological regions, 1998-2000 .................................... ................ 7
Table 2.4. Biophysical environments in five major maize agroecological regions, China .........................................8
Table 2.5. Comparison of per capital farmer's net income (PCFI) between major and non-major
m aize p rod u action cou n ties, 2000 ............................................................................................................................ 9
Table 2.6. Agroecological classification of 50 surveyed villages .................... ......................... 11
Table 2.7. Precipitation in surveyed maize production sites in China ........................................ ........................... 13
Table 2.8. Temperature in surveyed maize production sites in China ........................................ ........................... 13
Table 2.9. Infrastructural availability and conditions in surveyed villages .................. ................ ............... 14
Table 2.10. Maize marketing: Share of maize sales to different outlets........................................... .......................... 15
Table 2.11. M ain input sources .............. ............................................................................................................................ 17
Table 2.12. M ain credit sources in surveyed villages ........................................................................... ................... 18
Table 2.13. Average m aize prices by sales outlet and season ............................................................ ........................... 20
Table 2.14. Average prices for maize production inputs in surveyed villages ................... ............... ................ 20
Table 2.15. Average seed-to-grain price ratios ................................................ ......................................................... 22
Table 2.16. Price of competing and complementary crops and products .................. .............................. 22
Table 2.17. Demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of surveyed villages ........................... ............ 23
T ab le 2 .18 E d u catio n status s .................................................................................................................... .................. ......... 23
T ab le 2 .19 L an d ten u re .............................................................................................................................................................. 24
T ab le 2 .20 M aize u tilizatio n .............................................. ............................................ ............................................. 24
Table 2.21. Characterization of farmer variation across agroecological regions..................... ........................ 24
Table 2.22. Local perceptions of poverty and wealth in 50 surveyed villages ................................................. 25
Table 3.1. M aize cycle in su rveyed villages ......................................................................................................................... 29
Table 3.2. Major crops in surveyed villages by maize agroecological region.................... ...... ............ ... 29
Table 3.3. Major cropping patterns in surveyed villages by maize agroecological region .......................................... 30
Table 3.4. Preferred substitute crops for m aize in surveyed villages ............................................ ........................... 31
Table 3.5. Perceived advantages and disadvantages of maize by farmer group .......................... ............. 32
Table 3.6. Maize crop management by production system ................................................................................. 35
Table 3.7. Most important maize characteristics by farmer group ................................................ ............................ 37
Table 3.8. Share of m aize type by m aize system .................... ........................................................................................ 38
Table 3.9. Cultivated varieties by agroecological region, reasons for cultivation, and source of information......... 39
Table 3.10a. Labor use in maize production (labor days/mu)............................................. ................................... 46
Table 3.10b M aize inpu t u se (kg /h a) ........................................................ ................. ................ ............................ 46
Table 3.11. Maize costs (yuan/ha) of production in survey provinces, 1999-2001........................... .............. 47
Table 3.12. Main sources of technology information in surveyed villages ........................... .............................. 47
Table 3.13. Maize yields by agroecological region and maize type ................................................ 48
Table 3.14. M ain reasons for yield gap in surveyed villages ............................................ ............................................ 49
Table 3.15. Post harvest practices in surveyed villages ........................................ .................................................. 49
Table 3.16. Trends in maize area and yields in the last ten years ..................................................... .................... 50
Table 3.17. Trends in utilization of maize in the last ten years ........................................ ........................................... 51
Table 4.1. Farm er-elicited m aize production constraints ................................................................. ......................... 53
Table 5.1. Top ten maize production constraints prioritized by farmer groups and scientists ............................... 58
Table 5.2. Top 25 constraints to maize production ....................................... ......................................... ......... 60
Table 5.3. Top 25 constraints to maize production (no weighting by output) ............................... ................. ... 62
Table 5.4. Top ten constraints to maize production by production system ........................................................... 64










Figures









Page No.

Figure 1.1. Sown area and production of maize, wheat, and rice in China, 1949-2003. ....................................... 3
Figure 1.2. Maize consumption patterns in China, 1981-2000 ..................................................... ...................... 4
Figure 2.1. Average maize sown area in China by county, 1998-2000 .................................. ............. 5
Figure 2.2. Average maize production in China by county, 1998-2000 .................................. ..................... 5
Figure 2.3. M aize agroecological regions in China.................................. ...... .............................. .......... .......... 5
Figure 2.4. Distribution of multiple cropping index (MCI) in China. ........................................ .. .......... 6
Figure 2.5. General cropping calendar for selected maize agroecological regions in China.............................. 9
Figure 2.6. M aize production and per capital income e .......................................................... .................................... 10
Figure 2.7. Survey sites and m aize production, 1998-2001 ......................................................... ..................... 12
Figure 2.8. Survey sites and average per capital income, 2000........................................ .............................. 12
Figure 3.1. Maize cropping seasons in five agroecological regions........................................ ......................... 27
Figure 3.2. Maize crop management calendar for surveyed villages................................ ..................... 28










Acknowledgments









This research was made possible through funding from the United
Nations International Fund for Development (IFAD). The authors
would like to thank Dr. Prabhu Pingali and Dr. Michael Morris,
former Directors of the CIMMYT Economics Program, for their
leadership and guidance in the project, and Project Coordinator
Roberta Gerpacio, who provided important input and direction.
The collaborative efforts, hard work, and enthusiasm of the team
from the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP), Institute
of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese
Academy of Sciences, who carried out the participatory
discussions and farmer group facilitation are particularly
acknowledged.

We would also like to express our sincere appreciation to the
provincial, county, township, and village leaders in China who
facilitated our survey efforts and, most importantly, to the many
maize farmers who willingly contributed their time and shared
information about their experiences and concerns. We are grateful
to the maize experts who participated in the national maize
prioritization workshop for their valuable input, their participation
in the prioritization process, and their genuine interest in the
information that came out of the project.

We are also grateful to the other members of the Asian Maize
Socio-Economic Working Group (India, Nepal, Vietnam, Thailand,
Philippines, and Indonesia), who participated in the overall
project, for sharing their expertise and for making the collaboration
in this project such an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Finally,
we acknowledge colleagues at CIMMYT for their valuable
comments during the preparation and review of this document,
Alma McNab for her editorial review, and Marcelo Ortiz Sanchez,
CIMMYT Corporate Communications, Mexico, for his design and
formatting services.










1. Introduction


1.1. Project and Report Objectives

Research reported in this document was undertaken as
part of a broader, seven-country, three-year project
funded by the International Fund for Agricultural
Development (IFAD) to promote the sustainable
intensification of maize production systems in upland
environments in Asia. With projections of increasing
demand for maize across Asia, the need to place these
demand projections in the context of domestic and
regional supply possibilities and constraints also took
on increasing relevance. Of particular interest were
implications for the role of research and technology
development in improving maize productivity
including an assessment of technological constraints
and needs of poor farm households.

Specifically, project objectives included:

* Collection of detailed farm-level information on
maize production systems by agroecological region;

* Identification of maize production constraints, and
maize production and consumption trends in these
regions;

* Prioritization of production constraints; and

* Recommendations for research and development
and policy actions to promote sustainable maize
production.

This report focuses specifically on the research findings
from primary farm-level data collected across a range
of maize production environments in China, as well as
the results of a maize research priority-setting
workshop in China. In the remainder of this chapter,
we present the methodology used for farm-level data
collection and then summarize briefly national
production and consumption trends in the Chinese
maize economy. Chapter 2 characterizes maize
production environments in China based on survey
data and addresses a range of biophysical,
socioeconomic, infrastructural, and institutional issues.
Chapter 3 provides detailed information on maize
cropping patterns, management practices, technology
use, and production and utilization trends. Farm-level


constraints to maize production are described in
Chapter 4, while the methodology and results of the
national priority-setting workshop are presented in
Chapter 5. We discuss priority recommendations and
policy considerations in Chapter 6.



1.2. Methodology for Farm-Level
Data Collection

Although the emphasis of the broader, seven-country
project was primarily on tropical upland maize
production environments, such a focus in China would
have limited the analysis to a relatively small
percentage of maize area in southwestern China. While
maize production and utilization as food, feed, and
income source are indeed important to farmer
livelihoods in this region, the limited focus would have
precluded the discussion of maize research priorities
on a national level. To better represent the overall
range of maize production in the country and to
expand the characterization of maize in China to
include major maize production systems, the China
team decided to broaden its survey efforts across both
subtropical and temperate maize production
environments. By doing so, we also recognized that
interactions among maize, poverty and technology are
not necessarily limited to upland, tropical production
environments in southwestern China.

Chinese maize production areas can be classified into six
agroecological regions: Northeast, North, Yellow-Huai
River Valley, Northwest, Southwest, and South. Surveys
were carried out in all major maize production
environments throughout China's maize belt, excluding
South China, due to the relative lack of importance of
maize in its production systems. Data collection was
undertaken in two stages. The objective of the first stage
was to characterize the variation in maize production and
utilization across the five agroecological regions. Rapid
Rural Appraisal (RRA) surveys were utilized to facilitate
the collection of information on a range of village-level
characteristics and farmer crop production and utilization
practices, with special emphasis on maize.









Survey sites were selected using a three-stage, stratified
sampling method. In the first stage, provinces were
chosen in each agroecological region, taking into
consideration such criteria as area, production, and
yield of maize; share of maize in cultivated area;
existing maize cropping systems; share of irrigated
land; per capital income, and share of rural population.
The initial selection of provinces reflected the project's
focus on upland (defined for the purposes of the project
as being primarily rainfed) maize production and
included the provinces of Shanxi, Shaanxi, Sichuan, and
Guangxi to represent the North, Northwest, and
Southwest, respectively. However, the extremely
important maize production areas of the Northeast and
Yellow-Huai River Valley regions, represented by Jilin
and Shandong provinces, respectively, were
subsequently added to better represent the overall
range of maize production in the country and to allow
country-level priority setting.

In the second stage, two counties with contrasting
characteristics in terms of infrastructure availability
and level of development, as well as market
opportunities, were then selected from each province.
In the third stage, two surveyed villages were selected
in each county, also based on contrasting
infrastructural availability and development, and
market opportunities.

For the RRA, approximately ten farmers were chosen
from each sample village to participate in farmer group
discussions. Group members were selected with the
objective of reflecting as much of the existing variation in
the village as possible. A list of households in the village
was obtained with the assistance of the village head or
village secretary; through these key informants,
households were ordered from "better off" to "worse off."
Using this ordered list, households were randomly
selected to ensure the participation of a range of
households across the wealth spectrum in the village.
Participation of both males and females (although never
from the same household) in the group was also ensured.

Local biophysical conditions, production and
consumption trends, socioeconomic conditions in the
village, farmer organizations, market conditions and
prices, and cropping activities were addressed in
discussions with each farmer group. In the first round
of surveys, the sample consisted of a total of 50
villages from 25 counties in six provinces across the
five maize production environments in China. The
study team also conducted surveys at the village level
with village leaders and at the county level with key
county informants.

The second phase of data collection was designed to
focus in more detail on the variation within a given
survey location. For this purpose, a subset of 17 villages


from the first round of surveys was selected. Using
Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) methodology
interaction with four groups of farmers took place
simultaneously in each village. Again, households were
chosen based on wealth rankings in each sample
village. Two groups of approximately ten men and ten
women each were chosen at random from households
in the village perceived as being better off (no
household was represented in both groups), and two
groups of approximately ten men and ten women each
were chosen at random from households in the village
perceived as being worse off. Each of the four groups
evaluated crop production and related activities and
discussed the physical, biological, and institutional
constraints relevant to their region and production
system.



1.3. Background

1.3.1. Maize production
The oldest written record of maize in China appears in
Dian Nan Ben Cao by Lan Mao in approximately 1492
(Liang and Johnnessen 1987). The original usage of
maize was as traditional Chinese medicine. The earliest
written record (from 1560) of maize as a food crop
mentions that maize was a popular cereal crop
cultivated in conjunction with rice, wheat, and millet in
Pinliang Fu, Gansu Province, in northwestern China.
Records also indicate that maize was used as a tribute
to the emperor (Liang and Johnnessen 1987). Other
historical accounts describe the cultivation of maize in
the hilly areas of Fujian Province on China's
southeastern coast in the 16th century (Huang and
Rozelle 2006).

By the early 20th century, maize had become one of
China's major crops (Tong 2000). The maize area
expanded to 10 million ha, approximately 12% of total
cultivated area, between 1900 and 1930. The area
sown to maize continued to increase rapidly during
subsequent periods; in 22 provinces (not including
northeastern China and Inner Mongolia) it increased
by 2 r between the periods 1937-1945 and 1946-1949
(Jiang 1947). Next to rice, wheat, and millet, maize
was the fourth most cultivated cereal crop in China in
1949, when the People's Republic of China was
established. By 1951, maize had exceeded millet in
terms of sown area, and maize took its place as the
third most cultivated cereal crop in China. Maize area
continued to increase substantially during the 1950s,
as yields increased. In recent years, however, trends in
maize area and production have exhibited higher
levels of variability. Figure 1.1 shows the trend over
time in sown area and production for maize, rice, and
wheat through 2003.










Relative to other cereal crops in China, the area sown
to maize increased from 1 r' of the total area sown to
cereals in 1952 to more than 27% in 2000 and 24% in
2003. Maize production increased from almost 17% of
total cereal production in 1970 to almost 27% in 2003.
Maize experienced the largest increase of all cereal
crops in terms of production and sown area during
much of the 1980s and 1990s.

Maize supply and demand in China also play an
influential role in the world maize economy. China is
the second largest maize producer (after the United
States) in terms of both area and production. Its share
of production in the world maize economy increased
from 12.4% in 1970 to 17."' in 2000 and more than
1.' by 2003 (Table 1.1). Table 1.2 provides five-year
averages for maize area, yield, and production
between 1981 and 2003. Growth rates of production,
sown area, and yield for maize and other cereals in
China for selected periods between 1970 and 2003 are
shown in Table 1.3.


(a) Sown area (million ha)

Rice





e-- I' "
\ i Wheat


-- -**az
Maize
%0_ Maize


1952 57 62 67 72 77 82 87 92 97 02

210 -

180 -

150 -

120

90 Rice Wheat

60- V Maize

30 -._ ^-


1952 57 62 67 72 77 82 87 92 97 02

Figure 1.1. Sown area and production of maize, wheat,
and rice in China, 1949-2003.
Source: NSB, 1980-2003.


Table 1.4 compares average yield and growth rate of
maize in China with those in other major maize-
producing countries from 1970 to 2004. The overall
growth rate for maize yields in China was
approximately 2.7%, slightly lower than those of Brazil
and Argentina.



Table 1.1. China's maize economy, 1970-2003.
1970 1980 1990 2000 2003
Maize in China's cereal economy
Area share (%) 17.2 21.0 23.0 27.0 24.0
Production share (%) 16.9 20.7 24.9 26.2 26.9
China( maize in world maize economy
Area share (%) 14.0 16.2 16.4 16.6 17.1
Production share (%) 12.4 15.8 20.1 17.9 18.2
China( wheat in world wheat economy
Area share (%) 12.2 12.3 13.3 12.5 10.5
Production share (%) 9.4 12.5 16.6 17.0 15.5
Source: Huang and Rozelle 2006; calculated by authors using NSB Statistical Yearbook of
China and FAOSTAT.



Table 1.2. Cereal and maize area, yield, and production in
China, 1981-2003.
Units 1981-85 1986-90 1991-95 1996-00 2001-03
Cereal
Area million ha 96 95 93 94 84
Yield tons/ha 2.97 3.35 3.78 4.13 4.09
Production MMT 284 316 352 388 344
Maize
Area million ha 18.6 20.2 21.4 24.5 24.3
Yield tons/ha 3.5 4.01 4.74 4.89 4.81
Production MMT 65 80.8 101.6 120 117.1
Source: NSB, Statistical Yearbook of China, various issues.



Table 1.3. Growth rates of production, sown area, and
yields for maize and other cereal crops in China, 1970-
2003.
Pre-reform Reform period
Commodity 1970-78 1978-84 1984-90 1990-98 1998-03
Production 2.8 4.7 1.5 1.9 -3.8
Sown area 0.0 -1.1 0.2 -0.1 -3.3
Yield 2.8 5.8 1.3 2.1 -0.5
Rice
Production 2.5 4.5 1.1 1.0 -4.2
Sown area 0.7 -0.6 0.1 -0.6 -3.3
Yield 1.8 5.1 1.0 1.6 -1.0
Wheat
Production 7.0 8.3 1.4 2.2 -5.4
Sown area 1.7 0.0 0.5 -0.5 -6.0
Yield 5.2 8.3 0.9 2.8 0.6
Maize
Production 7.4 3.7 4.1 4.1 -2.2
Sown area 3.1 -1.6 2.7 2.3 -1.0
Yield 4.2 5.4 1.4 1.7 -1.3
Notes: Growth rates are computed using regression method.
Source: Huang and Rozelle 2006.









The increase in the production of maize and other
cereal crops in China during the last several decades
has been recognized as one of the most remarkable
success stories in science and technology and
agricultural policy reform (Huang and Rozelle 2006;
Lin 1992). Increases in production have been attributed
to several factors. Development of technology,
including hybrid technology; increased water
availability through government-funded
infrastructural projects; and the supply and use of
inorganic fertilizer and other farm chemicals are
important factors contributing to maize production
growth (Huang et al. 1996). Institutional changes such
as the household responsibility system, particularly in
the early reform period (Lin 1992), have also been
identified as crucial stimulus of production incentives
(Huang and Rozelle 2006).

However, given the currently high levels of input use,
as well as increasing water shortages and competition
from industrial and commercial cash crops, technology
development is expected to play the primary role in
future productivity gains (Pingali et al. 1997; Huang et
al. 2002). Neither increases in area nor yield from
further investment in water control are expected.
Furthermore, the impacts of institutional change in
many cases occur over a finite period of time, and
evidence shows that they have been largely exhausted
in China (Huang and Rozelle 1996).



1.3.2. Maize consumption
In northern China and the poorer mountainous
regions, utilization of maize prior to 1949 was
primarily for farmers'own household food use, in the
form of porridge or steamed bread. Maize
consumption patterns remained largely stable in much
of China from 1950 to 1980. However, meat demand -
and the corresponding demand for maize as feed-



Table 1.4. Average yield and growth rates for maize in
selected countries, 1970-2005.
Growth
Average yield (MT/ha) rate (%)
1970- 1981- 1986- 1991- 1996- 2001- 2004- 1970-
Country 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2003 2005 2005
Argentina 2.67 2.80 2.85 2.95 2.99 3.06 3.17 3.00
Brazil 1.47 1.50 1.54 1.57 1.61 1.65 1.65 2.80
China 2.49 2.57 2.67 2.83 2.98 3.08 3.19 2.70
India 1.08 1.07 1.09 1.12 1.16 1.18 1.19 2.20
Indonesia 1.18 1.23 1.28 1.35 1.40 1.46 1.53 3.50
Mexico 1.34 1.40 1.45 1.49 1.56 1.63 1.67 2.50
Nigeria 1.05 1.11 1.15 1.18 1.23 1.25 1.25 0.50
Romania 2.88 2.94 3.05 3.09 3.15 3.27 3.36 0.30
South Africa 1.87 2.05 2.05 1.96 1.95 1.92 1.91 1.50
USA 5.62 5.83 5.97 5.88 5.97 6.24 6.43 1.60
Source: FAOSTAT 2006.


began to increase following the reforms of the early
1980s. Figure 1.2 shows the changes in maize
utilization in China from 1981 to 2000. The
consumption of maize as food has decreased sharply,
while utilization of maize as feed has risen rapidly.

Per capital consumption of maize as food dropped
from an average of 21.2 kg in 1981-85 to 9.3 kg in 1996-
2000. Per capital consumption in urban areas is
significantly lower than in rural areas (Huang and
Rozelle 2006). Table 1.5 shows the rapid changes in per
capital consumption of maize over selected time
periods between 1981 and 2000.

Huang and Rozelle (2006) also note that trends in
urbanization and migration are expected to contribute
further to decreasing per capital consumption of maize
as food. The ratio of urban population to total
population increased from 1", in 1980 to 36% in 2000
(Huang and Rozelle 2006). Urbanization, population
growth, and rising per capital incomes are the same
factors that have contributed to the increased
importance of maize as a feed crop. Most of the
increase in maize production over the last 20 years has
been utilized as feed (Huang and Rozelle 2006), and a
continuing increase in the demand for feed maize in
Asia (and China, in particular) is expected. Whether or
not this demand can be met domestically will depend
on the ability to address the needs of maize farmers in
the country through technology development,
dissemination, and appropriate policies.


100 -


Food use




Feed use




Other (seed,
industry use,
waste)


1981-85 1986-90 1991-95 1996-00
Figure 1.2. Maize consumption patterns in China,
1981-2000.
Source: Huang and Rozelle 2006.



Table 1.5. Per capital maize consumption in China,
1981-2000.
Units 1981-85 1986-90 1991-95 1996-00
Per cap food kg/person 21.19 14.12 12.13 9.28
Urban kg/person 3.24 2.73 2.92 2.72
Rural kg/person 26.20 17.99 15.66 12.11
Source: Huang and Rozelle 2006.










2. Characterization of Maize

Agroecological Environments in China


2.1. Overview of Maize
Agroecological Environments in
China
Maize is cultivated in every province in China, but the
wide range of climatic and geographical variation in
the country, in addition to other factors affecting
production and consumption patterns, result in
significant differences in maize cropping patterns and
practices.

The principal maize production areas in China are
situated in a belt of very diverse environments
traversing China from northeast to southwest. Figures
2.1 and 2.2, respectively, show the distribution of average
maize sown area and production for 1998-2000; the
pattern of the Chinese maize belt is clearly evident.

Production environments can be broadly classified into
six agroecological regions: Northeast China, North
China, Yellow-Huai River Valley, Northwest China,
Southwest China, and South China (Figure 2.3).
Together, the three agroecological regions of Northeast
China, North China, and the Yellow-Huai River Valley
account for approximately 7i r, of China's maize area
and close to 75% of total maize production.1


SThe maize-producing region known as the North China Plain spans an
area from the North China region to theYellow-Huai River Valley,
which includes the provinces of Shanxi, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, and
Inner Mongolia.








SIt.Ilize area (ha)




I so ,,2ooo


Figure 2.1. Average maize sown area in China by county,
1998-2000.


The provinces and prefectures included in each
agroecological region are summarized in Table 2.1.
Five of the six agroecological regions (South China is
excluded) are addressed in this report and include the
14 most important maize-producing provinces in
China: Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Inner Mongolia,
Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong, Henan, Shanxi, Shaanxi,
Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, and Guangxi.


4I .


Figure 2.2. Average maize production in China by county,
1998-2000.


Southwest South/Southeast

Figure 2.3. Maize agroecological regions in China.


Irl.ize production (tons)

Io
a
a 00 200
m ....
I .









As a result of the interaction between production and
consumption factors and biophysical conditions, maize
systems vary greatly within the five agroecological
regions. Irrigation is an important factor. Although most
of the rice (95%) and wheat (65%) areas are irrigated, the
irrigated maize area is estimated at only 45% of the total
maize sown area (Huang and Rozelle 2006).

Descriptive statistics on rural population, total arable
land, total crop sown area, and maize sown area for
the five agroecological regions are summarized in
Table 2.2. The share of maize in the total crop sown
area is considerably higher in the Northeast than in
other regions, but maize nevertheless plays a
significant role in the other regions. The fact that the
crop sown area is greater than the total arable area in
certain regions reflects the cultivation of more than one
crop per year. The increase in the Multiple Cropping
Index (MCI) from north to south reflects the gradual
change in cropping systems from one crop per year, to
three crops in two years, to two crops per year, and,
finally, to three crops per year. An average of more
than two crops per year is common in the Southwest




Table 2.1. Maize agroecological regions in China.
Agroecological
region Provinces and prefectures
Northeast Liaoning, Jinlin, Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia (Chifeng City, Hulunbeier
League, Xingan League, Tongliao City)
North China Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei (Shijiazhuang, Tangshan, Qinhuangdao, Baoding,
Zhangjiakou, Chengde, Cangzhou, Langfang), Shanxi (Taiyuan, Datong,
Yangquan, Shuozhou, Yinzhou, Luliang), Inner Mongolia (Hohhot City,
Baotou City Wuhai City, Xilinguole League, Wulanchabu League, Erdos
City)
Yellow-Huai Hebei (Handan, Xingtai, Hengshui), Shanxi (Changzhi, Jincheng,
River Valley Jinzhong, Linfen, Yuncheng), Shandong, Henan, Shaanxi (Xian, Baoji,
Xianyang, Weinan, Yangling), Anhui (Bengbu, Huainan, Huaibei,
Chuzhou, Fuyang, Bozhou, Suxian) Jiangsu (Lianyungang, Xuzhou,
Yancheng, Huaiyin, tIngzhou)
Northwest Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia (Bayannaoer League,
Alashan League), Shaanxi (Tongchuan, tinan, Yulin)
Southwest Guangxi (Nanning, Liuzhou, Guilin, Hezhou, Baise, Hechi), Sichuan,
Chongqing, Guizhou, Yunnan, Shaanxi (Hanzhong, Ankang, Shangluo)
South China Guangxi (Wuzhou, Beihai, Fangchenggang, Qinzhou, Guigang, Yulin),
Guangdong, Hainan, Fujian, Hunan, Hubei, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Jiangxi
Sources: CAAS 1984; Liu 2002; Tong et al. 1998.


region, while cold temperatures and short growing
seasons in the Northeast region restrict farmers to one
crop a year. The MCI is calculated as the ratio of the
crop sown area to arable area; the crop sown area is
counted twice if two crops are cultivated on the same
land in one year. The average MCI for all of China
during the period 1978-2000 was 1.45.

Maize production data for each agroecological region
and the share of maize production systems found in
each region are presented in Table 2.3. The largest
maize sown areas and highest maize production levels
are in the Northeast and Yellow-Huai River Valley
regions. In both regions average yields are over 5 tons
per hectare. Spring maize in the Northeast region is
almost completely rainfed; however, due to generally
good soil fertility, good growing conditions, and input
use, the Northeast region is one of China's highest
yielding maize-producing regions. Irrigated summer
maize predominates in the Yellow-Huai River Valley
and is cultivated in the plains; summer maize is also
cultivated, but under rainfed conditions. Spring maize
in Northwest China is likewise cultivated under both
rainfed and irrigated conditions in the spring.
Irrigated spring maize areas of Northwest China have
the combined advantages of suitable temperatures, a
longer cropping season than for summer maize, and
more reliable irrigation systems. With an average of













Multiple cropping index
Foe
E 0 -1
S1 1.35
W 1.35 1.9
m 1.9 2.42



Figure 2.4. Distribution of multiple cropping index (MCI) in China.


Table 2.2. Rural population, arable land, crops and maize sown area in agroecological regions in China, 1998-2000.
Maize sown area
Rural population Arable land Crop sown area to crops sown area MCI
(million persons) (million ha) (million ha) (%) (%)
Northeast 69.2 21.5 20.5 36 0.95
North 97.8 10.4 11.0 26 1.06
Yellow-Huai River Valley 241.4 24.3 39.3 19 1.62
Northwest 41.6 11.2 14.9 9 1.33
Southwest 203.9 13.0 29.4 14 2.26
Source: Authors' calculation from CCAP database based on Table 2.1.









less than 4 tons per hectare, maize yields in the
Southwest region are the lowest among the five
agroecological regions.

More detailed characterizations of each of the five
maize agroecological regions are summarized below.


2.1.1. Northeast region
This agroecological region includes the three provinces
of Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning, as well as the
prefectures of northeastern Inner Mongolia (Table 2.1).
Agriculture and forestry are key industries in the
region, and agricultural production is the major
income source for the rural population. Maize is the
most important crop in terms of area and production.
Other major crops include soybean, spring wheat, and
rice. Although a small percentage of the maize area is
irrigated, the crop is cultivated almost completely
under rainfed conditions in the spring. The major
maize production area in this region is located in the
Songliao plain. Black loamy and brown loamy soils
predominate in this region.

The climate in this region is classified as frigid humid/
semi-humid temperate, and characterized by warm,
wet summers and long, very cold winters. Sixty
percent of its annual precipitation of 500 to 800 mm
falls between July and September. The maize cropping
cycle in this region decreases as the number of frost-
free days decreases. Because early frost usually
appears in September and early October, fast maturing
maize varieties are needed. The average maize cycle is
130 days in Heilongjiang province and 150 days in
Liaoning, Jilin, and Inner Mongolia.



2.1.2. North region
This agroecological region includes the city-
administered areas of Beijing and Tianjin, northern
Hebei and Shanxi provinces, and central Inner
Mongolia (Table 2.1). The region can be subdivided


into two parts: the north plateau and hill subregion,
comprising central Inner Mongolia and northern
Shanxi and Hebei, and the north plain subregion
consisting of the cities of Beijing and Tianjin and the
northern Hebei coastal plain. The north plain
subregion has favorable production conditions; most
of the maize area is irrigated, and average yields are
among the highest in China. The north plateau and
hill subregion is predominantly rainfed and
characterized by long day-length and a large
daytime/nighttime temperature gap, which results in
generally good maize growing conditions. An
important crop in this subregion, maize is used for
both food and feed, although minor grain crops, such
as millet, also play an important role in food security.
The growth cycle of maize varieties to the north of
Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces is the longest in China,
sometimes as long as 190 days. Most of the region has
semiarid climatic conditions. Brown loamy and silt
loamy soils predominate in this region.



2.1.3. Northwest region
This region comprises the two autonomous regions of
Xinjiang and Ningxia; Qinghai and Gansu provinces;
northern Shaanxi province; and western Inner
Mongolia. There are two maize production systems:
rainfed spring maize cultivated in hilly locations and
irrigated spring maize cultivated on plateaus and
terraced land. The rainfed maize system in the
eastern part of the region comprises 41 r, of the total
maize area. Here, annual precipitation is higher than
in irrigated areas, and abundant sunshine and
favorable temperatures are conducive to maize
production. Maize in both systems is grown as the
single crop in the annual growing season. Other
major crops in the region include winter and spring
wheat, millet, broomcorn millet, oats, buckwheat, and
potato. In general, all crops are fast maturing. The use
of fallow during the rainy season to build up soil
moisture is common practice.


Table 2.3 Maize production in five agroecological regions, 1998-2000
Maize production" Share of maize by production system (%)b
Area Production Yield Rainfed Irrigated
(million ha) (million tons) (ton/ha) Spring maize Summer maize Fall maize Winter maize Spring maize Summer maize
Northeast 7.36 39.0 5.3 99 1
North 2.90 13.9 4.8 80 -20
Yellow-Huai River Valley 7.44 38.0 5.1 1 19 -80
Northwest 1.28 7.4 5.8 40 60
Southwest 3.99 15.9 4.0 44.5 2 3.5 minimal 9 41
SAuthors calculation from (CAP database based on Table 2.1
SEstimated by participants in Maize Prioritization Workshop, Beijing 2002.









2.1.4. Yellow-Huai River Valley

This region includes southern Hebei and Shanxi
provinces, central Shaanxi province, Henan and
Shandong provinces, and northern Anhui and Jiangsu
provinces. The region is characterized by warm
temperate and semi-humid monsoon climate.

There are three maize systems in the region: rainfed
spring maize, rainfed summer maize, and irrigated
summer maize. Rainfed spring maize is primarily
cultivated in the hilly and mountainous areas in the
western part of the region, including western Henan
province, eastern Shaanxi province, and southern
Shanxi province. Either three crops are harvested in
two years or one crop is harvested per year. Other
major crops include winter wheat, soybean, beans,
sweet potato, potato, apple, and other fruit crops.
Although spring maize was historically second in
importance to winter wheat, its area has decreased as
fruit crops have become more profitable. Rainfed
summer maize is primarily cultivated in the hilly areas
in the northern part of Anhui province, where winter
wheat and summer maize are rotated every two years.

The predominant maize system in the Yellow-Huai
River Valley is irrigated summer maize either rotated or
relay-cropped with winter wheat in the plain areas.
Other major crops in this system include cotton,
peanuts, and vegetables. The summer maize cycle
averages 110-115 days in the Yellow-Huai River Valley



2.1.5. Southwest region
This region includes the provinces of Sichuan,
Chongqing, Guangxi, Guizhou, and Yunnan as well as
southern Shaanxi province. The region can be divided
into two major maize systems, rainfed summer maize
cultivated in the north of Sichuan, Chongqing, and
Shaanxi, and rainfed spring maize cultivated in the
south of Sichuan, Guangxi, Guizhou, and Yunnan.
Furthermore, a much smaller irrigated spring maize
system can be found in Sichuan province. Three
cropping seasons per year are common in this region.


A cropping system common in the north is winter
wheat-summer maize-fall vegetable. The summer
maize cycle is similar to that of mid-season rice,
approximately 110 days.

The topography of the rainfed spring maize system in
the south ranges from flat to hilly to mountainous, and
much of the maize in mountainous areas is cultivated
in the karst geological environment typical of parts of
southwestern China. The rainfed spring maize system
supports additional fall or winter crops following
spring maize harvest. The winter maize crop is largely
green maize, cultivated and consumed more as a
vegetable than as a grain crop. The cycle of spring and
fall maize is approximately 100 days. However,
cultivation of both fall and winter maize following
spring maize has been decreasing due to competition
from other crops and to changes in consumer
preferences, from maize to rice.



2.2. Cropping Calendar

The duration of frost-free periods increases from 100
days in northeastern China to 360 in southwestern
China. Average annual precipitation is 200-1600 mm.
About two thirds of maize in China is grown under
temperate conditions, with the other third divided
between subtropical and tropical conditions (Liu 2002;
CAAS 1984; Tong et al. 1998).

Table 2.4 summarizes biophysical data for the five
maize agroecological regions. Accumulated
temperatures above 10 C, average temperatures, and
frost-free periods all increase from northeast to
southwest. However, precipitation and hours of
sunshine do not exhibit the same pattern with the
decreasing latitude across the country.

Figure 2.5 presents a general cropping calendar for the
five maize agroecological regions relevant to this
study. The three agroecological regions in the north
(Northeast, North, and Northwest) typically cultivate
one crop per year, although three crops in two years is


Table 2.4. Biophysical environments in five major maize agroecological regions, China.
>10C
accumulated Average Frost-free
temperature temperature Sunshine period Rainfall Altitude
(OC) (OC) (hours) (days) (mm/year) (m)
Northeast 1300-3700 -14 2300-3000 100-200 500-800 50-100
North 2000-3600 -12 2500-3200 120-200 200-600 50-100
Yellow-Huai River Valley 3400-4700 10-14 2200-2800 170-220 500-1100 50-100
Northwest 2000-4500 0-12 2600-3400 140-170 10-250 300-3000
Southwest 3500-6500 15-18 1200-2600 240-360 800-1600 200-3000
Sources: CAS 1984.










also possible in the southern part of the North and
Northwest maize agroecological regions. The Yellow-
Huai River Valley region is generally characterized by
two crops per year, while three crops a year is common
in the Southwest maize region.

Crop alternatives are more limited in non-irrigated
areas, and maize has traditionally held a comparative
advantage over other crops, for example, in the
Northeast rainfed spring region. In other
agroecological regions of China, maize is most
commonly grown as a second crop in annual
rotations. In parts of North China, particularly on the
North China plain, farmers cultivate maize after
harvesting winter wheat. In areas of the Yellow-Huai
River Valley, wheat crops are planted with enough


space between rows to allow sowing maize prior to
the wheat harvest (relay cropping). In the Southwest
region, which includes both subtropical and tropical
maize areas, climatic conditions allow more flexible
rotations, and maize can be incorporated into
rotations with a wide range of crops, including
potato, rape, vegetables, and melons.



2.3. Maize Production and Poverty

Per capital income in counties with a maize area of more
than 4,000 hectares was an average 1,981 yuan in 2000
(Table 2.5). This figure is lower than both the 2,313 yuan
average in counties with less than 4,000 hectares of
maize and the national average of 2,135 yuan.


Northeast Heilongjiang
Jilin
Liaoning
Inner Mongolia (east)
North Inner Mongolia (west)
Hebei (north)
Shanxi(north)
Northwest Xinjiang
Gansu
Shaanxi(north)
Yellow-Huai Shandong .
River Valley Hebei (south) r
Henan E
Shanxi (south) .
Shaanxi (center) I
Southwest Shaanxi( south) L
Hubei I
Hunan
Sichuan
Guizhou K
Yunnan I
Guangxi [


Jan. Feb. Mar.


Apr. May


Jun Jul. Aug. Sept Oct. Nov. Dec.


-7- - --.---.r - ,

-^ --^*J- -- '! -I I' -^ '' "^ '' "^ ^ -- -- o l
.--. -. .. - --- -,


-,,,,-*--,-,* -, -,-,-,-,--,-,-*,,
.M, .77 .-.-.-.. .
Ir----~ I.--t -.-- .--.--.-..1 5 1 -/.-/:`-/=//i-."-


Figure 2.5. General cropping calendar for selected maize agroecological regions in China.
Note: Each block represents one maize cycle.




Table 2.5. Comparison of per capital farmer's net income (PCFI) between major and non-major maize
production counties", 2000.

Number of poverty counties

PCFI= PCFI= PCFI= PCFI
<666 yuan <1000 yuan <1500 yuan yuann)
Major maize
production counties 28 126 391 1981
Non-major maize
production counties 17 100 285 2313
All China 45 226 676 2135

SA major maize county is defined as one with maize sown area greater than 4000 hectares.
Source: Authors' calculation from (CAP database.









In 2002, of a total of 45 officially designated national
poverty counties with average per capital incomes of
less than 625 yuan, 28 cultivated maize on more than
4000 hectares. A similar relationship between a large
maize area and low income levels can also be observed
at per capital income increments of 1,000 yuan and 1500
yuan. Figure 2.6 overlays counties with average annual


per capital income of less than 1,000 yuan and 1,000 to
1,500 yuan over counties with a maize area greater
than 4,000 hectares. A relationship clearly exists
between maize production and rural poverty;
however, these data do not provide further details
regarding the causal nature of this relationship.


*; ,,


-w


___ _____ 4


ir


N
/ I


; A',
f


Figure 2.6. Maize production and per capital income.



2.4. Survey Sites
Table 2.6 lists the 50 survey sites in China along with
the corresponding maize agroecological regions and
production systems.

Figure 2.7 places the surveyed villages in the context
of average county-level maize production in China in
the period 1998-2001. All sites are situated within
China's maize belt. In Figure 2.8, the surveyed villages
are illustrated in the context of three categories of
county average per capital income.


PC (2000)>1500

PC (2000)>1000 <1500
Pdl (2000)<1000

- > 4000 ha Maize in county


2.5. Climatic Conditions
Annual precipitation across the five agroecological
regions ranged from 375 mm in the irrigated spring maize
systems of the Northwest to over 1500 mm in villages
cultivating both spring and winter season maize in the
Southwest. Average precipitation and precipitation
ranges at planting, flowering, and harvesting for the
maize systems are presented in Table 2.7.

Average annual temperatures, as well as averages and
ranges across the maize season, are presented in Table
2.8. The wide range of climatic conditions across maize
producing environments in China is evident, with a
minimum annual average temperature of 5.80C
observed in survey sites in the Northeast region and of
280C in areas cultivating both rainfed spring and fall
maize in the Southwest.

10


-----i_
,
t










Table 2.6. Agroecological classification of 50 surveyed villages.

Maize growing Primary maize Secondary maize
region production system production system Province County Township Village


Northeast
Northeast
Northeast
Northeast
North
North
North
North
North
North
North
North
Northwest
Northwest
Northwest
Northwest
Northwest
Northwest
Yellow-Huai River Valley
Yellow-Huai River Valley
Yellow-Huai River Valley
Yellow-Huai River Valley
Yellow-Huai River Valley
Yellow-Huai River Valley
Yellow-Huai River Valley
Yellow-Huai River Valley
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest
Southwest


Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Irrigated spring
Irrigated spring
Irrigated spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Irrigated spring
Irrigated spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Irrigated summer
Irrigated summer
Irrigated summer
Irrigated summer
Irrigated summer
Irrigated summer
Rainfed summer
Rainfed spring
Rainfed summer
Rainfed summer
Irrigated spring
Irrigated spring
Irrigated spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring
Rainfed spring


Jilin
Jilin
Jilin
Jilin
Rainfed spring Shanxi
Shanxi
Shanxi
Shanxi
Shanxi
Shanxi
Shanxi
Shanxi
Shaanxi
Shaanxi
Shaanxi
Shaanxi
Shaanxi
Shaanxi
Irrigated spring Shandong
Shandong
Shandong
Irrigated spring Shandong
Shandong
Shandong
Rainfed spring Shanxi
Rainfed summer Shanxi
Rainfed spring Shaanxi
Rainfed spring Shaanxi
Sichuan
Sichuan
Rainfed summer Sichuan
Rainfed winter Guangxi
Rainfed fall, rainfed winter Guangxi
Rainfed winter Guangxi
Rainfed winter Guangxi
Rainfed winter Guangxi
Rainfed fall Guangxi
Guangxi
Guangxi
Rainfed fall Guangxi
Rainfed fall Guangxi
Rainfed summer Shaanxi
Shaanxi
Irrigated spring Sichuan
Irrigated spring Sichuan
Sichuan
Sichuan
Rainfed fall Sichuan
Sichuan
Sichuan


Source:IFAD-CIMMYT-CCAP RRA/PRAsurveys, 2001-2002.


Changling
Changling
Gongzhuling
Gongzhuling
Lishi
Qingxu
Qingxu
Lingshi
Lingshi
Lishi
Shouyang
Shouyang
Shenmu
Shenmu
Luochan
Luochan
Yanan
Yanan
Jioxiong
Jioxiong
Ningjing
Ningjing
Zhucheng
Zhucheng
Hongtong
Hongtong
Ankanghanbing
Ankanghanbing
Bazhong
Shehong
Shehong
Debao
Debao
Duan
Duan
Longan
Longan
Tiane
Tiane
Wuming
Wuming
Ziyang
Ziyang
Bazhong
Guangan
Guangan
Lezhi
Lezhi
Xuanhan
Xuanhan


Dong Liu Hoo
Dong Liu Hoo
Chao Yang Po
Chao Yang Po
Xingyi
Wucun
Xigu
Mahe
Mahe
Xinyi
Pingshu
Pingshu
Daboodong
Daboodong
Jiuxian
Jiuxian
Nanniwan
Nanniwan
Ma Ji
Huang Gai
Cai Hu Dian
Zhang Do Zhuang
Lu Biao
Zhi Gou
Kongyu
Kongyu
Jiangbei
Yinghu
Mingyang
Taihe
Chenggu
Zourong
Maai
Daxing
Baoan
Doujie
Qiaojian
Bala
luipai
Ningwu
Yuqian
Donghe
Chengguan
Guangyinjin
Pengjia
Guangmen
Laodong
Dongshan
Liuchi
Liuchi


Jin Shui
Ma Lion
Li Jia Dian
Liao He
Yancun
Kongcun
Xiluopo
Yangjiayuan
Zhangsong
Xinyi
Gucheng
Taian
Bulawan
Yongfeng
Leijiawan
Jinjiayuan
Gaofangcun
Santaizhuang
Xia Hua Lin
Zhang Gai
Dong Dian Liu
Wang Zhuang
Da Cun
Wang Cun
Yutou
Shangan
Shuangquan
Yuxing
Gaodianzi
Tangjiajin
Xiongjiaci
Baming
Longhua
Jiudun
Pingwang
Ouli
Yanluo
Bala
Yubang
Liangxin
Peilian
Majiazhuang
Nanmucun
Ercun
Baiyang
Huiwencun
Wulichong
Yixuecun
Liangfeng
Liuping



















I--i





Figr























Figure 2.7. Survey sites and maize production, 1998-2001.


A .;ites
S. ..- (s
Maize Production (tons)


** 186
7187-21438
' 21439-44698
44699- 91416
S91417 995646


A Survey Sites
PCI (2000) <666
I PCI (2000) >666 <1000
PCI (2000) >1000 <1500


Figure 2.8. Survey sites and average per capital income, 2000.





















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2.6. Infrastructure


2.6.1. Roads and transportation

Infrastructural development has been a major priority
for government investment, especially roads and
national highways. Over the last two decades, China's
road network doubled to more than 1.4 million
kilometers and, in 2000, it accounted for 76% of
national freight movement. Although the increase in
the share of freight traveling over roads has come at
the expense of railroads and inland waterways, these
traditional modes of transportation continue to be
significant. However, similar to the road network,
their quality and coverage are not uniform within the
country (Huang and Rozelle 2006).

Infrastructure at the village level is similarly variable
in quality and coverage. Internal road infrastructure
in our surveyed villages ranged from generally good
quality roads with good accessibility, particularly in
the Yellow-Huai River Valley region, to very difficult
access from one part of the village to another in
several villages of the Southwest rainfed spring and
summer maize areas. Travel by motorcycle provided
the fastest means of access under these conditions, but
walking was stated as the most commonly used
means of transportation. All surveyed villages had
electricity, with the exception of one village in the
Southwest rainfed spring maize region.

Village access to the main road was between 0 and 8
km and averaged 1.5 km. Distances to the primary
market varied considerably more, ranging from 0 to
30 km with an average of 5.8 km.


2.6.2. Markets


The primary sales outlets for maize were government
grain bureaus, private traders, and local markets. Sales
to other farmers in the farmer's own village and
neighboring villages took place depending on the
specific region and maize production system. The
possibility of selling maize to local feed factories was
also mentioned in surveyed villages in the Northeast
and Yellow-Huai River Valley, although it did not
appear to be a common option. Policies on grain
procurement by the government have alternated
between implementation and liberalization many times
over the last several decades, and the grain quota for
farmers has also fluctuated significantly as a
consequence (Huang and Rozelle 2006). In 2000, the
government began to eliminate grain procurement
quotas, first in regions with a grain deficit and,
subsequently, in regions showing a surplus. However,
implementation appears to have been somewhat
uneven at the local level.

Implementation of a 1998 central government policy
prohibiting traders and private companies from
purchasing grain from farmers and limiting their
activities to wholesale and retail markets was also
uneven across surveyed villages. Farmers in one
surveyed village in the rainfed spring maize system,
for example, disagreed about whether or not traders
were allowed to come to the village. Farmers in other
villages noted that traders had only recently begun to
come. In other villages, traders were still not an
available option for maize sales.

Sales to government grain depots accounted for a
significant share of maize sales, particularly in the
Northeast. This dominance is likely a function of the
strong association of the Northeast with national maize


Table 2.9. Infrastructural availability and conditions in surveyed villages.
Agroecological Total road infrastructure % passable % affected Distance to nearest Distance to primary
region Maize system in village (km) to traffic by rain roadhead (km) market (km)
Northeast Rainfed spring 18.8 24.0 88.0 0.8 3.1
North Irrigated spring 2.5 88.9 44.4 0.9 6.0
Rainfed spring 5.2 100.0 76.9 2.0 10.8
Northwest Irrigated spring 13.8 9.1 90.9 2.1 3.3
Rainfed spring 2.9 25.8 81.7 2.4 4.5
Yellow-Huai
River Valley Irrigated summer 13.7 58.5 62.2 2.0 4.3
Rainfed spring/summer 3.8 53.3 80.0 0.4 3.5
Southwest Rainfed summer 17.0 26.5 100.0 3.0 7.5
Irrigated spring 5.3 43.5 84.4 0.0 2.3
Rainfed spring (all sites) 14.3 95.5 77.5 1.4 6.6
Rainfed spring (one season) 28.2 67.4 76.3 0.9 5.9
Rainfed spring/fall 29.8 72.7 79.7 1.2 6.0
Rainfed spring/winter 10.3 87.8 97.6 2.5 9.0
Source:IFAD-CIMMYT-CCAP RRA/PRA surveys, 2001-2002.









production and a long-standing tradition of government
procurement in this region. Since government purchases
in the Northeast only take place during harvest, at other
times of the year maize was sold to other outlets,
primarily private traders. Sales to government grain
bureaus were also significant in areas of the Southwest
where the government price was slightly higher than the
price offered by private traders. Private traders
nevertheless played a considerable role and offered the
option of exchanging maize for rice and flour.

Many farmers in the North region preferred not to sell
to government depots due to what they perceived to be
overly strict standards for grain moisture content and
cleanliness. The quality requirements of private traders,
on the other hand, were much lower, and the price
acceptable. Exchanging maize with private traders for
other goods such as flour, rice, and fruit was very
common in the Northwest region, but much less
significant in the Northwest and part of the Southwest.

The volume of maize purchases seemed to be relatively
low, and the maize purchases that took place were
primarily from other farmers in the village, although
local markets were sometimes used. Maize purchases
were observed mostly in the Southwest. Farmers in one
village in the Southwest rainfed spring area
commented that poor households purchased maize for
food, while rich households purchased it for feed.



2.6.3. Irrigation infrastructure

In most of the Northeast, North, Northeast, and
Southwest regions, the predominant maize crop is
spring maize under rainfed conditions. A small number
of sites in each of those regions, particularly the
Northwest and Southwest, cultivate irrigated spring


maize. Village-managed tubewells and reservoirs were
the primary source of irrigation water in surveyed
villages in Northwest China, while large irrigation
schemes were present in Sichuan province (Southwest
region). Irrigation water for spring maize in North
China was primarily supplied through surface
infrastructure managed at the village level.

Sources of irrigation water for summer maize in the
Yellow-Huai River Valley survey sites were
predominantly village- and household-managed
tubewells. In some villages, additional irrigation water
was available from surface infrastructure and from
village-managed reservoirs. All other summer maize
areas cultivated the crop under rainfed conditions.

The fact that maize is cultivated under rainfed
conditions, however, does not necessarily imply that
there are no irrigation options. In the predominantly
rainfed spring maize sites in the Southwest region,
villages reported an average of 35% irrigated paddy
land out of total arable area, with only one village
reporting no paddy land. In the irrigated spring maize
areas of the Southwest region (Sichuan province), the
share of paddy land rose as high as .1 r of arable land.
Several villages in the Southwest (Guangxi province)
also reported the use of concrete tanks built to collect
rainwater. These water collection tanks were managed
either at the village or individual household level.
Investment was estimated at approximately 4,000 yuan
(approximately US$ 480) in the surveyed village in
Guangxi province where the largest number of water
collection tanks was observed. Surveyed villages in the
Northeast region also reported being able to irrigate
from 11 r to ;s of their total arable land using
household-managed tubewells.


Table 2.10. Maize marketing: share of maize sales to different outlets.
Agroecological Government Private traders Other farmers
region Maize system agencies" (including barter) Public markets (own and neighboring villages)
Northeast Rainfed spring 67.5 24.0 0.0 8.5
North Irrigated spring 25.0 55.0 3.3 16.7
Rainfed spring 2.2 75.8 0.0 22.0
Northwest Irrigated spring 0.0" 18.0 4.5 77.5
Rainfed spring 6.5 61.0 12.5 20.0
Yellow-Huai River Valley Irrigated summer 24.0 25.0 30.7 20.7
Rainfed spring/summer 0.0 52.5 0.0 47.5
Southwest Rainfed summer 0.0 85.0 0.0 15.0
Irrigated spring 5.0 0.0 80.0 15.0
Rainfed spring (all sites) 15.7 42.3 19.4 23.3
Rainfed spring (one season) 10.4 38.5 29.0 22.1
Rainfed spring/fall 27.5 57.6 5.6 9.3
Rainfed spring/winter 13.7 32.9 13.8 39.6
No government-purchased maize reported by farmers in surveyed villages during 2001.
Source:IFAD-CIMMYT-CCAP RRA/PRA surveys, 2001-2002.









2.7. Institutional Environment

2.7.1. Sources of inputs
Prior to the decree and implementation of the Seed Law
in 2000, agricultural research and plant breeding in
China was almost completely publicly managed. Public
seed companies were the only organizations allowed to
multiply and sell cereal seed, while breeding was
restricted to research institutes in the national
agricultural research system. The seed industry
consisted of public county seed companies whose
responsibility it was to conduct regional yield trials and
screen adapted varieties, multiply and sell seed, and
carry out extension activities. Non-public seed
companies and organizations were excluded from
marketing seed of any major crop, including maize,
cotton, and oilseed crops; local seed markets were
monopolized by county seed companies.

The most significant change brought about by the new
seed law was the elimination of the market monopoly by
seed companies in the public seed system. The new seed
law permits all public companies, research institutes,
private companies, and individuals that are certified by
the provincial agricultural administration to multiply
and market seed. Although a large number of national
seed companies have failed since the new seed law,
surviving companies are producing and marketing seed
of conventional crops, including hybrid seed. Some have
also begun their own breeding programs. Currently the
seed industry consists of a public and private mixture of
small, local seed companies with highly variable
products and services. Approximately 50 established
companies develop, produce, and sell hybrid seed
wholesale, while thousands of small, local seed retailers
sell seed to farmers.

The distribution and sales of inputs such as fertilizer
were controlled by the government until the
commercialization of the fertilizer industry began, in
the late 1980s. Fertilizer became available on the market
at both subsidized (with quota) prices (determined by
the amount of grain sold to government procurement
agencies) and liberalized (non-quota) prices. The
commercial fertilizer trade grew quickly with the entry
of many private companies and traders (Huang and
Rozelle 2006).

Table 2.12 summarizes the main sources of inputs
utilized by farmers in the surveyed villages. At the time
of our survey it was difficult to assess the impact of the
Seed Law. Seed of local varieties was largely saved from
the previous harvest or exchanged/borrowed from other
farmers. Seed of open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) was
also saved or exchanged by farmers, but included seed
purchased from other farmers. For example, farmers in
Wu Ming county of the Southwest rainfed spring and
fall maize regions saved seed of local and open-
pollinated varieties or exchanged seed with relatives,


neighbors, and farmers in neighboring villages. These
sources were convenient, and farmers expressed
confidence in the quality and purity of the seed obtained.
In several surveyed villages, no other seed sources were
available. However, farmers in other villages commented
that seed of local varieties and OPVs was available in
local markets but was of dubious quality.

Sources of hybrid seed included government extension
stations at the township level, seed companies, private
traders, village committees, and local seed producing
households. The primary reason for not using a
particular source was concern over seed quality. Not
being able to purchase seeds on credit was also cited as
a constraining factor.

Various organizations, including input companies and
agricultural extension stations at the village, township,
and county level, sold fertilizers to farmers in the
surveyed villages. Private traders were also cited as
frequent sources of fertilizer. Sources of pesticides were
similar to sources supplying fertilizer.



2.7.2. Farmer associations

None of the surveyed villages in the North China
irrigated or rained spring maize regions, Northwest
irrigated or rainfed spring maize regions, Southwest
rainfed summer maize region, or Yellow-Huai River
Valley rainfed summer maize region reported the
presence of farmer associations related to agricultural
activities. Only one village in the irrigated summer maize
Yellow-Huai River Valley described farmer associations
for vegetable production, including coordinated seed
purchase and bean curd processing. A farmer association
for the coordinated purchase of onion seed was also
reported in the Northeast rainfed spring maize region.
Farmer associations were more numerous in the
surveyed villages of the Southwest rainfed spring maize
region. Several associations facilitated the management of
water storage tanks and irrigation for rice production.
Farmer associations for the transplant of rice seedlings
and the coordinated sale of products such as fruit, ginger,
and fish were also described. However, no associations
related to maize production or sale were reported.



2.7.3. Credit institutions
Access to formal rural credit has not improved for
farmers, and previous research has found evidence that
local credit cooperatives have stopped lending to
farmers (Huang and Rozelle 2006). Loans are available
for agricultural production purposes, such as livestock
production and fertilizer purchases, but they have
decreased over time in favor of small business
development and house construction (Huang and
Rozelle 2006).










Table 2.11. Main input sources.
Agroecological Maize Local OPV
region system seed seed Hybrid seed Fertilizer Pesticide Herbicide
Northeast Rainfed Seed company, private trader, Township level cooperative, Township level cooperative, Township level cooperative,
spring public agriculture technology government agricultural input government agricultural input government agricultural input
extension station company, private traders company, private trader company, private trader
North Irrigated Seed company Township level cooperative, Township level cooperative, Township level cooperative,
spring private traders private trader private trader
Rainfed Saved Seed company Township level cooperative, Private trader, seed station Private trader, seed station
spring seed private traders, government
agricultural input company
Northwest Irrigated Seed company, village Private traders Agricultural technology Agricultural technology
spring committee company (township or county company (township or county
level), private trader level), private trader
Rainfed Saved Seed company, private trader, Private traders, government Private trader, county town, Private trader, county town,
spring seed seed company agricultural input company in own village, seed company village, seed company
county town
Yellow-Huai Irrigated Saved public agriculture technology Township level cooperative, Township level cooperative, Township level cooperative,
River Valley summer seed extension station, seed private traders, government public agriculture technology public public agriculture
company agricultural input company extension station, private technology extension station,
trader, government agricultural private trader, government
input company, plant agricultural input company,
protection station plant protection station
Rainfed Seed company Private traders Private trader Private trader
spring
summer
Southwest Rainfed Seed company, county seed Township level cooperative, Township level cooperative, Township level
summer company center in harvest own village own village cooperative,village
season
Irrigated Saved Saved Seed company Township level cooperative, public agriculture technology public agriculture technology
spring seed seed public agriculture technology extension station, government extension station, government
extension station, government agricultural input company, agricultural input company,
agricultural input company, township township
county town
Rainfed Saved Saved public agriculture technology Township level cooperative, Township level cooperative, Township level cooperative,
spring seed, seed, extension station, seed public agriculture technology public agriculture technology public agriculture technology
(all sites) exchange exchange, company, seed production extension station, private extension station, agricultural extension station, agricultural
purchase, area, self saved, township traders, government technology company technology company (township
borrowed level cooperative agricultural input company (township or county level), or county level), private
from other private trader, county town trader, county town
farmers
Rainfed Saved Saved public agriculture technology Township level cooperative, Township level cooperative, Township level cooperative,
spring seed seed, extension station, seed public agriculture technology public agriculture technology public agriculture technology
(one exchange, company, township level extension station, private extension station, agricultural extension station, agricultural
season) purchase, cooperative, township traders technology company technology company (township
borrowed seed company (township or county level), or county level), private trader
from other private trader
farmers
Rainfed Saved Saved public agriculture technology Township level cooperative, Township level cooperative, Township level cooperative,
spring/fall seed, seed, extension station, seed public agriculture technology public agriculture technology public agriculture technology
exchange exchange, company extension station, private extension station, private extension station, private trader
purchase traders trader
Rainfed Saved Saved public agriculture technology Township level cooperative, Township level cooperative, Township level cooperative,
spring/ seed, seed, extension station, seed public agriculture technology agricultural technology agricultural technology company
winter exchange exchange, company, seed production extension station, private company (township or (township or county level),
purchase area, self saved traders, government county level), county town county town
agricultural input company
Source:IFAD-CIMMYT-CCAP RRA/PRA surveys, 2001-2002.









Specific sources of credit used varied both across
different agroecological regions and also by maize
system within an agroecological region. The specific
purpose of the loan and the amount of money
borrowed played a large role in determining the credit
source. Relatives and friends were the most frequent
source of credit when it came to small or short-term
loans, such as those required for purchasing crop
inputs. This source was preferred due to convenience
and because no interest or collateral were demanded;
farmers usually turned to other options only when this
source was not available or when the amount of
money needed was too large.

One similarity across the surveyed villages was the
infrequent use of government banks as a credit source.
Obtaining bank credit was difficult primarily because of
the collateral required and the complexity of the loan
process; thus a large number of interviewed farmers did
not view banks as a realistic credit option. The use of
rural credit cooperatives was more widespread, as the
loan process was felt by most to be simpler relative to
that of banks. However, farmers still had concerns
regarding collateral and high interest rates. Several
villages reported that certain households had had limited
access in the past to credit programs supported by the
World Bank and other international organizations. These
programs usually provided small, short-duration loans.
Private moneylenders were particularly prevalent in
some villages in the Northwest rainfed spring, Yellow-
Huai River irrigated summer, and Southwest rainfed
spring regions, but villagers usually only turned to this
source of credit in an emergency or when no other credit
sources were available.


2.7.4. Output and input prices

Table 2.13 presents average maize prices received prior to
and immediately after harvest for hybrid, local, and open-
pollinated varieties at the primary maize outlets. Although
the development and integration of maize markets were
impacted by a complex combination of government policy
interventions, infrastructure bottlenecks, and transaction
costs, many other factors, including the increased number
of participants and volume of trade, also contributed to
continuing advances in market integration (Park et al.
2002). Both regional price variation and annual variation
have decreased in recent years as market integration
continues to take place (Huang and Rozelle 2006).

Prices of the most commonly used maize inputs are provided
in Table 2.14. The fertilizer industry has experienced waves of
government decentralization and regained control over the
past three decades, but the most recent market liberalization,
in the late 1990s, resulted in declining prices. In our sample,
the average price of urea ranged from 1.46 yuan/kg in the
rainfed spring maize areas of the Southwest to 1.56 yuan/kg
in the Yellow-Huai River Valley.

The deregulation of seed prices, which previously were
established by government price bureaus, began during
the late 1990s and continued until seed prices were
completely liberalized. Upward trends in both seed
prices and seed-to-grain price ratios were observed
through the mid 1990s (Huang and Rozelle 2006). The
regional variation observed at that time continues to
appear across our surveyed sites. Although
representations of the regions are not exactly comparable
between our sample and earlier samples, compared with
estimates from 1996, ratios in the Northeast have


Table 2.12. Main credit sources in surveyed villages.

Rural Private
Government credit money Relatives/ Other
banks cooperatives lenders friends sources

Northeast Rainfed Spring 0 6 70 14 10
North Spring irrigated 0 6 1 93 0
Rainfed spring 0 24 1 75 0
Yellow-Huai
River Valley Irrigated summer 1 24 38 23 14
Rainfed summer 0 0 10 90 0
Northwest Irrigated spring 0 20 0 80 0
Rainfed spring 5 35 0 55 5
Southwest Irrigated spring 0 70 0 30 0
Rainfed spring (all) 4 35 12 44 5
Rainfed spring
(one season) 1 29 21 43 6
Rainfed spring/fall;
spring/winter;
spring/fall/winter 7 44 0 46 3

Source: IFAD-CIMMYT-CCAP RRA/PRA Surveys, 2001-2002.









decreased substantially, while those in the Yellow-Huai
River Valley region have increased slightly (Table 2.15).
Prices of competing and complementary crops from
survey sites are shown in Table 2.16.



2.8. Socioeconomic Characteristics

2.8.1. Households
Villages in the Southwest rainfed spring maize region
reported that a significant share of their village
population worked off farm for some part of the year,
usually in cities within the province, although
migration to other provinces also took place. Off-farm
employment was also significant in surveyed villages
of the Yellow-Huai River Valley but much less
common for farmers in surveyed villages of the
Northeast rainfed spring wheat region.

Farm size varies significantly by agroecological region.
Our survey sample mirrors national and regional
averages, with larger farm sizes in the Northeast region
and much smaller ones in the Southwest region. Average
farm sizes ranged from 2.61 mu (0.2 ha) in the Southwest
irrigated spring maize area to a high of over 17 mu (1.1
ha) in the Northeast. Per capital arable land ranged from
0.9 mu (0.06 ha) in the Southwest, to 4.3 mu (0.3 ha) in
the Northwest rainfed spring maize system.



2.8.2. Ethnicity
Most of the population in the surveyed villages in the
Northeast, North, Northwest, and Yellow-Huai River
Valley were Han Chinese. Very small populations
(< 1%) of ethnic Manchus and Mongols were reported
in the Northeast region, and of Tu Jia ethnic groups in
the North rainfed spring maize system. Minority groups
(including the Zhuang, Yao, and Hui) were much more
prevalent in the Southwest rainfed spring/fall/winter
maize systems. The largest group, the Zhuang, were the
majority ethnic group in some of these villages.



2.8.3. Education
Levels of education attained varied considerably
across the surveyed areas in the five maize
agroecological regions. Detailed information is
presented in Table 2.18. The largest share of the
population in most villages completed middle school.



2.8.4. Land tenure
Under the household responsibility system (HRS) reform
that began in 1979, collective land was allocated to
individual households based on household size or a
combination of household size and labor. Since private


ownership of agricultural land does not officially exist
in China, this so-called responsibility land remains
collectively owned and subject to periodic reallocation
by village leaders. Farmers are supposed to have
complete use and income rights to the land during the
contract period. The Rural Land Contract Law of 2002
was implemented to improve short- and long-term
agricultural productivity by further expanding and
ensuring the rights of contract holders.

Most agricultural land in the surveyed villages falls
under the category of responsibility land. Villages can
also maintain an area of unallocated "contract land,"
which is rented to households on a short-term basis.
The prevalence of contract land varies considerably
from village to village, since land reforms in China
have been implemented locally Several of the surveyed
villages, particularly in the Southwest and Yellow-Huai
River Valley regions, manage most or all of their
agricultural land as contract land. While the purchase
and sale of agricultural land are also not officially
permitted, agricultural land may be rented, or
subcontracted, from households that are not cultivating
the land. In all the surveyed villages, the amount of
agricultural land in this category was small to non-
existent. Finally, small amounts of land are sometimes
allocated for household plots largely used to cultivate
vegetables for household consumption, a practice
reported by most surveyed villages in the North and
Southwest regions, but uncommon in surveyed
villages in other regions.


2.8.5. Maize utilization
Maize utilization differed widely across the various
agroecological regions. Although the use of maize for
food has been decreasing across China, all surveyed
villages, with the exception of a few in the North and
Northwest regions, reported that the share of maize
consumed as food ranged from less than 1% in the
Yellow-Huai River Valley to as high as .; l-n r in the
Southwest rainfed spring/fall and spring / winter
maize regions. Maize in these regions was still
consumed daily as the main staple food (in the form
of porridge), although a growing trend towards
replacing maize with rice was observed. Household
utilization of maize was particularly high in all
Southwest maize systems, where the share of total
production consumed was often greater than .',i r
with, in most cases, a substantial share allocated for
feed. Feed use was particularly significant in the
Southwest irrigated and rainfed spring maize
systems, the North rainfed spring maize system, and
the Northwest irrigated spring maize system. The
proportion of maize sold was largest in the Northeast
spring maize region and the Yellow-Huai River Valley
irrigated summer maize system.




















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Table 2.19. Land tenure.
Average Range
Land tenure system (%) Land tenure system (%)
Respon- Respon-
Agroecological Household sibility Subcontract Contract Household sibility Subcontract Contract
region Maize system plot land land land Other plot land land land Other
Northeast Rainfed spring 0.0 94.0 10.0 6.0 0.0 0 90-100 10 2-10 0
North Irrigated spring 5.7 76.3 2.7 17.3 0.7 0-10 50-95 0-8 5-40 0-2
Rainfed spring 3.1 87.6 0.6 9.3 0.0 0-13 53-100 0-3 0-46 0
Northwest Irrigated spring 0.0 100.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0 100 0 0 0
Rainfed spring 0.0 73.4 1.9 26.8 0.0 0 27-100 0-3 0-70.2 0
Yellow-Huai
River Valley Irrigated summer 1.0 59.1 6.7 39.1 1.7 0-5 0-100 0-20 0-100 0-5
Rainfed spring/summer 0.2 90.0 0.0 10.0 0.0 0-1 90-100 0 10 0
Southwest Rainfed summer 9.5 65.5 8.0 25.0 0.0 7-12 27-88 0-16 0-50 0
Irrigated spring 5.5 94.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0-10 0 0 90-100 0
Rainfed spring (all sites) 5.7 76.5 0.0 18.6 0.0 2-21 0-98 0-2.6 0-100 0-3
Rainfed spring (one season) 7.6 64.6 2.5 27.9 0.6 2-21 0-96 0-2.6 0-93 0-3
Rainfed spring/fall 6.7 85.3 0.0 8.3 0.0 5-10 80-95 0 0-100 0
Rainfed spring/winter 5.7 76.5 0.0 18.6 0.0 3-10 6-97 0 0-93 0
Source:IFAD-CIMMYT-CCAP RRA/PRA surveys, 2001-2002.



Table 2.20. Maize utilization.
Used in Used in
household household Sold or Kept Waste/ Carr y-over Average duration
Agroecological as food as feed bartered as seeds spoilage stock of storage
region Maize system (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (days)
Northeast Rainfed spring 6.5 13.8 76.0 0.0 3.8 0.0 90
North Irrigated spring 2.7 35.3 55.0 0.0 3.7 3.3 180
Rainfed spring 1.8 22.2 69.0 0.0 4.8 2.2 172
Northwest Irrigated spring 0.5 72.5 23.5 0.0 2.5 0.5 na
Rainfed spring 2.3 26.3 65.8 0.0 3.5 1.8 143
Yellow-Huai River Valley Irrigated summer 3.1 19.9 72.8 0.0 3.0 1.1 183
Rainfed spring/summer 3.0 57.5 34.0 1.0 1.0 3.5 210
Southwest Rainfed summer 17.5 35.0 30.0 0.0 5.0 12.5 60
Irrigated spring 5.7 90.0 3.7 0.0 0.6 0.7 120
Rainfed spring (all sites) 15.9 63.7 12.6 1.8 2.6 3.4 162
Rainfed spring (one season) 6.0 71.3 14.2 0.9 3.0 4.9 158
Rainfed spring/fall 22.0 62.0 12.5 0.0 0.8 2.8 180
Rainfed spring/winter 31.0 50.0 9.6 5.2 3.2 1.0 150
Source:IFAD-CIMMYT-CCAP RRA/PRA surveys, 2001-2002.




Table 2.21. Characterization of farmer variation across agroecological regions.
N Age Education Farm size Maize area # of maize Non ag TV ownership (%)
(years) (mu) (mu) varieties # pigs # poultry employment (%) Color B/W None
All farmers 681 44.8 5.3 8.8 5.3 1.5 2.6 32.1 30 36 52 14
All "better off" 348 44.6 5.6 9.9 5.8 1.6 3.4 51.6 30 45 49 8
All "worse off" 333 45 5.1 7.7 4.7 1.5 2 8 29 26 55 20
Northeast 86 40.1 7.1 17.8 14.7 2 3.4 13.4 17 39 53 2
North 67 50.6 5.2 15.9 11.2 2.9 0.3 7.3 21 39 58 3
Yellow-Huai River Valley 213 45.8 4.7 4.4 2.8 1.3 4.7 168.4 41 52 44 7
Northwest 73 41.8 3.3 18.2 4.5 1.2 1.3 7.1 53 45 45 14
Southwest 239 44.8 6.2 4.8 2.7 1.4 2.5 12.3 26 15 57 28
Source: IFAD-CIMMYT-CCAP RRA/PRA Surveys, 2001-2002.









2.8.6. Characterization of variation in
participating farmers

Although interaction with farmers took place in group
settings, brief interviews were carried out with each
participating farmer in order to better characterize the
variation of farmers in our sample and to be able to
place participating farmers within a broader context.
The survey was not designed to achieve, in our farmer
sample, statistical representation of all households in
their respective regions. Instead, the characteristics
summarized in Table 2.22 reflect the range of variation
in household and farmer characteristics across maize
agroecological regions. While most farmers
participating in group discussions (with the exception
of farmers in the Northwest) cultivated between one
and three varieties, the maximum number of maize
varieties cultivated by a single household reached
seven in the North region and five in all other regions.


2.8.7. Local perceptions of poverty and wealth

Definitions of poverty and wealth can vary substantially
across regions. Thus farmer groups were asked to discuss
local perceptions of poverty and wealth within the
context of their own villages. During these discussions,
each group characterized households considered to be
relatively better off and those considered to be relatively
more disadvantaged in the village. Table 2.22 presents a
summary of farm household characteristics by
agroecological region and maize system. Not surprisingly
given existing government policies, farmers in surveyed
villages across the agroecological regions agreed, in most
cases, that factors such as household and farm size were
not useful distinguishing factors. However, many
farmers felt that differences in age and education levels
of heads of households were a distinguishing factor. The
source of household income was a significant factor
across all regions. Wealthier households appeared to
depend less on agriculture, particularly maize farming,
as a source of income.


Table 2.22. Local perceptions of poverty and wealth in 50 surveyed villages.
Agroecological region Maize system Disadvantaged households Well-off households Comments
Northeast Rainfed spring Older household head, large Younger household head, farm Few differences in household
majority of household income from cash crops, such as size and education across
income from maize; up to 3 pigs; watermelon; 2-30 pigs; 2-5 head household types
0-2 head of cattle; little of cattle; substantial off farm income
to no off farm income
North Irrigated spring Lower education level of house Higher education levels of household No difference in household size
hold head; older household head; younger household head
head (over 50); 50% or more (30-40); clever household head;
of income from maize less than 30% of income from maize;
substantial off farm income; more crops
Rainfed spring Larger household size (5-6); less Smaller household size (3-4); more No difference in age or
educated household head; 40-50% educated household head; less than 20% household size; no difference
of income from maize; little of income from maize; off farm income; in crops cultivated; no difference
to no off farm income; 0-1 pigs 1-5 pigs in cattle (1 head)
Northwest Irrigated spring Larger household size (5-6); Smaller household size (3-4); more No difference in farm size or
less educated household head; educated household head; younger crops cultivated; no difference in
older household head (over 50); household head (30-40); 10-30% cattle owned
30-40% of income from maize; of income from maize; little off
more off farm employment farm employment
Rainfed spring Less educated; household head More educated; household head Few differences in household size;
over 50; few fruit trees or animals; between 30-40; less income from maize no difference in farm size; off farm
some maize income but most from than poor household; more cash crops income both under 30%, few
other agricultural crops such as apple trees and tobacco differences in animal ownership
Yellow-Huai River Valley Irrigated summer May be older but usually no difference; May be younger but usually no No difference in household size or
40-60% of income from maize; less than difference; less than 20% of income education; no difference in farm
20% off farm income; more pigs and from maize; 65% or more off farm size or crops cultivated
chickens; may need to purchase maize income; few to no pigs or chickens









Table 2.22. Cont'd...

Agroecological region Maize system Disadvantaged households Well-off households Comments

Rainfed summer/spring Majority of income from agriculture; Small share of income from agriculture; No difference in household size or
no off farm income large share of off farm income education; no difference in farm
size or crops cultivated; no
difference in share of income from
maize; both raise few animals
Southwest Spring irrigated Less educated household head; 20-30% Better educated household head; Little difference in household size;
of household income from maize and less than 10% of household income no difference in farm size (all
30-60% from agriculture from maize and less than 25% small); no difference in pigs (1-2)
from agriculture; plant more rice
than poor; majority of income
from off farm employment
Rainfed summer Household head less educated; over Household head better educated; less No difference in household size
50 years old; 15-18% of income from than 40 years old; 3-10% of income or farm size; no difference in
maize; approx. 50% of income from from maize; less than 30% of income crops cultivated
agriculture; 1 pig; more chickens from agriculture; more than 50% of
raised (20) income from off farm income; 2-6 pigs;
fewer chickens raised (10)
Spring rainfed Less educated household head; More educated household head; middle All households raised pigs but no
older household head; smaller aged or young household head; larger pattern discernable; little difference
farm size; income from maize farm size; income from maize ranges in cattle ownership although some
ranges from 10-100%; off farm from 1-27%; off farm income over 70%; poor households owned none
income usually under 30%; usually fewer chickens
usually more chickens
Source: IFAD-CIMMYT-CCAP RRA/PRA Surveys, 2001-2002.










3. Maize Production Systems and Trends in China


3.1. Maize Cropping Calendar

A calendar of maize cropping seasons across the
five agroecological regions is presented in Figure
3.1, while a more detailed scheme of maize
management practices in selected sites of our
survey sample is presented in Figure 3.2. Planting
of rainfed spring maize in the North and Northwest
China regions begins in the first half of April, and
harvesting is done from September through
October. Maize in the Northeast spring rainfed
region is generally planted in the latter half of April
and harvested in the first half of October. Irrigated
summer maize in the Yellow-Huai River Valley is
planted from mid-May to early June and harvested
from late September to early October.


Planting of rainfed spring maize in the Southwest
begins as early as mid-February and continues through
mid-March, with harvest taking place from mid-June to
early July. Irrigated spring maize, however, is sown in
the second half of March and usually harvested in mid-
August. Where maize is not sown directly but, instead,
transplanted into the field, seedling generation begins
in early March and transplanting takes place from late
March to early April. Summer maize in the Southwest
is planted in mid-May and harvested at the end of
August or early September.

Villages that plant a fall maize crop do their sowing
almost immediately after harvesting the spring maize
crop in the latter half of July. Fall maize is harvested in
the first half of November. Often planted on rice
paddies as a third crop between two rice crops, winter
maize is generally planted in early December and
harvested in the first half of April.


Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun Jul. Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.
Northeast Heilongjiang
Jilin
Liaoning
Inner Mongolia (east)
North Inner Mongolia (west)
Hebei (north)
Shanxi (north)
Northwest Xinjiang
Gansu
Shaanxi (north)
Yellow-Huai Shandong
RiverValley Hebei (south)
Henan
Shanxi (south)
Shaanxi (center)
Southwest Shaanxi (south)

Hubei

Hunan

Sichuan

Guizhou
YInnan
Guangxi

Figure 3.1. Maize cropping seasons in five agroecological regions.





























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Information on the duration of the maize cycle from
surveyed villages is summarized in Table 3.1. The maize
cycle increases from a minimum of around 90 days in the
rainfed spring maize systems in the Southwest region to
a maximum of 180 days in the rainfed spring maize
systems in the North and Northwest regions, although
the average cycle in those regions ranged from 140-150
days. The cycle of maize varieties planted in surveyed
villages of the Northeast region was 150-170 days.




Table 3.1. Maize cycle in surveyed villages.
Agroecological region Maize system Duration of cycle (days)
Northeast Rainfed spring 150-170
North Irrigated spring 150
Rainfed spring Up to 180
Northwest Irrigated spring 150
Rainfed spring Up to 180
Yellow-Huai River Valley Irrigated summer 120-140
Rainfed summer 100-150
Southwest Rainfed summer 90-100
Irrigated spring 140-150
Rainfed spring 120-150
Rainfed fall 105-120
Source: IFAD-CIMMYT-CCAP RRA/PRA Surveys, 2001-2002.


The cropping cycle of local varieties, compared to
that of hybrids, appeared to vary by maize
production system. Local varieties in the
Northwest were noted for their short cycle, while
farmers in the Southwest often described local
varieties as having long cycles. The exceptions
were the short-cycle glutinous (waxy) varieties.
Open-pollinated varieties, still cultivated in the
Southwest, were also noted for their long cycle.



3.2. Maize Cropping Patterns

Table 3.2 shows the staple crops and other major
crops cultivated in surveyed villages in the five
maize agroecological regions. The diversity of crop
alternatives available to farmers decreases sharply
from the Southwest region, where the widest range
of crops was reported by farmer groups, to the
Northeast region, which had the fewest options.
However even though, taken together, there were
more crop alternatives in the Southwest region, in
any given village and often even in a given
township, a much smaller number of crops was in
fact cultivated. In that sense, the actual alternatives
for farmers were much more limited.


Table 3.2. Major crops in surveyed villages by maize agroecological region.
Agroecological region Maize production system Staple crops Other crops
Northeast Spring rained maize, soybean, rice broomcorn millet, millet, vegetable, sorghum, red bean,
melons, potato, sunflower, peanut
North Spring rainfed maize, wheat, potato soybean, millet, sunflower, oats, sorghum, sweet potato,
buckwheat
Spring irrigated maize, wheat, potato soybean, millet, sunflower, wheat, sorghum, watermelon
Yellow-Huai River Valley Spring rainfed wheat, maize, cotton soybean, sweet potato, green bean, sesame, watermelon,
beans, peanut, garlic
Summer irrigated wheat, maize, cotton soybean, sweet potato, green bean, watermelon, peanut,
sorghum, green Chinese onion, capsicum, onion, field and
garden vegetable, tobacco, garlic
Summer rainfed wheat, maize, cotton soybean, sweet potato, millet, green bean, watermelon,
sesame, sorghum, cotton, potato, field vegetable
Northwest Spring rained maize, wheat, potato tobacco, rape, millet, common fennel, wheat, broomcorn millet
Spring irrigated maize, broomcorn millet, soybean, wheat
millet, potato
Southwest Spring irrigated rice, maize sugarcane, rape, peanut, capsicum, soybean, sweet potato,
chestnut, mulberry, potato, tea, sesame, green-bean, beans
Summer rained maize, wheat rape, sugarcane, peanut, capsicum, soybean, sweet potato,
chestnut, mulberry, potato, tea, sesame, green-bean, beans
Spring rained (one season) maize, rice soybean, vegetable, watermelon, potato, rice, peanut, sweet-
potato, cotton, cassava, capsicum, bamboo, chestnut, mulberry,
tea, green-bean, wheat, peas, beans, dryland lotus, rape
Spring /fall/winter rainfed maize, rice soybean, peanut, capsicum, sweet potato, pumpkin, black bean,
bamboo, rice, potato, dryland lotus, rape

Source: IFAD-CIMMYT-CCAP RRA/PRA Surveys, 2001-2002.










Maize cropping patterns in surveyed villages are listed
in Table 3.3. Maize is included in a significant part of
local cropping patterns in all the survey sites, but as
with crop diversification, alternative cropping patterns
with and without maize varied considerably across


maize systems. The range of options in the Northeast
is much more limited than in regions where the
climate allows more cropping flexibility, and
irrigation is more common.


Table 3.3. Major cropping patterns in surveyed villages by maize agroecological region.

Agroecological region Maize production system Major maize cropping patterns Other cropping patterns
Northeast Rainfed spring maize maize; maize/soybean soybean, potato, spring wheat, broomcorn millet
North Irrigated spring maize maize-wheat; maize soybean, rice, potato, spring wheat, broomcorn millet
Rainfed spring maize maize; maize-wheat; maize-wheat-soybean, wheat, wheat-millet, wheat-sorghum, wheat/ broomcorn millet,
maize/soybean, maize/potato, wheat-sunflower, potato, oats
Northwest Irrigated spring maize maize, maize/potato wheat, millet, soybean, broomcorn millet, potato
Rainfed spring maize maize, maize-wheat wheat, wheat/buckwheat, wheat/broomcorn millet, sweet potato-wheat,
tobacco/wheat, tobacco, potato, sorghum, soybean, broomcorn millet,
beans, rape, rice
Yellow-Huai River Valley Rainfed spring maize maize, wheat/maize cotton, wheat/cotton, wheat-soybean (millet, sesame, green bean,
broomcorn millet, peanut, sweet-potato, field vegetables), vegetables, fruits
Irrigated summer maize wheat-maize, wheat/maize, wheat/cotton, cotton, wheat/garlic, fruits, vegetables
maize/soybean-wheat, wheat/garlic-maize
Rainfed summer maize wheat-maize, wheat/garlic/maize wheat/cotton, wheat/garlic/cotton(watermelon), wheat-
(or maize/soybean) soybean, wheat-millet, wheat-sesame, wheat-green bean
Southwest Rainfed summer maize maize/beans(sorghum)-wheat, maize-maize, rice/wheat, rice/rape, potato/maize, wheat-sorghum, rice-rice,
maize/potato/wheat(sweet potato), wheat- lotus, rape-rice, rice-wheat
maize, wheat-maize/soybean(green bean),
maize/beans- wheat, maize-soybean
(vegetable, rice), maize/wheat, wheat-
maize/sesame, wheat/vegetable- sweet
potato/maize/soybean, maize/sorghum-
wheat, maize-maize/sweet potato, maize/
potato -wheat
Rainfed spring maize (one season) maize-soybean/cassava, maize-soybean, wheat-sorghum, wheat-sweet potato, wheat-rice, wheat-green bean,
maize/beans-wheat, maize/cassava-soybean, wheat-peanut, rape-cotton, sugarcane, rice-rice, rice-sweet potato, rice-
maize-sweet potato-soybean, maize-soybean potato, rice-vegetable, rice/fish, lotus, rape-rice, rice-vegetable-wheat,
(cotton, peanut), maize/pumpkin(ramie, barley-rice, rice/fish
sweet potato), maize/soybean -sunflower
(soybean), wheat-maize/soybean,
wheat-maize/sesame-maize/potato,
potato/vegetable-maize/sweet potato,
maize/sweet potato-wheat/vegetable,
wheat/vegetable- sweet potato/maize/
soybean-maize/cassava, maize-maize/
sweet potato, maize-rice-sweet potato,
maize/vegetable-sweet potato, rice/
wheat, wheat-maize, wheat-maize/green
bean, rape/maize, wheat/vegetable-
maize/vegetable
Rainfed spring/fall maize maize-soybean(vegetable, cotton, peanut), wheat-sorghum, rice-rice, rape-rice-rice, buckwheat-rice, sugarcane
(two seasons) maize-maize, maize/beans(sorghum)-wheat,
maize/sweet potato-soybean, maize-rice-sweet
potato, maize/cassava-soybean, maize-sweet
potato-rape/vegetable, maize- soybean/
cassava, maize-sweet potato-soybean, maize/
pumpkin ramiee, sweet potato), maize-maize/
sweet potato, wheat-maize, maize-rice
Rainfed spring/fall/winter maize-sugarcane-maize, maize-vegetable- vegetables, fallow
maize (three seasons) maize, maize-sugarcane,
Note: "-" indicates crop rotation and "/" indicates intercropping.
Source: IFAD-CIMMYT-CCAP RRA/PRA Surveys, 2001-2002.









3.2.1. Potential substitute crops for maize

Information on crop alternatives to maize and the
factors farmers consider when choosing a crop
provides a better understanding of the local role of
maize and its importance relative to other crops and
activities. It can also give some indication of local
farmers' interest in continuing to cultivate maize in
the future. Farmers in the PRA discussion groups
were asked which crops were potential substitutes for
maize, and of those substitutes, which they would be
most likely to cultivate should they decrease the
maize area (Table 3.4). Interestingly, farmers in some
villages initially had difficulty responding because
the hypothetical situation of not growing maize was
hard to imagine. This was particularly the case with
some farmers in the Southwest rainfed spring region,
albeit for very different underlying reasons. The need
for maize as feed for animals raised in the household
was the overriding reason for farmers in villages that
cultivated rainfed spring maize, particularly in
Sichuan province. For households in Guangxi
province that continued to consume maize as a staple
food, not to cultivate the staple crop was an option
that would not normally be considered.

In villages characterized by mountainous terrain, very
little or no irrigated paddy land, and a higher share of
poor soils, maize is the highest yielding staple food
crop. Unless income is available from the sale of
agricultural products or from off-farm employment,
the purchase of other staple foods, such as rice, is not
an option for many households. However, in other
villages in the Southwest where rice was cultivated
and had largely taken the place of maize as the staple
food, other options such as sugarcane were available.
Marketing factors, including prices and sales
opportunities, became the overriding basis for
cropping decisions. While farmers in the Northeast


rainfed spring maize region came up with alternatives
that included soybean, potato, and watermelon, there
was also concern, for reasons of income risk, that maize
could not be completely replaced by other crops.

Overall, the most important considerations for choosing
a viable alternative crop to maize, other than suitability
for the growing season and cropping conditions, were
related to the income earning potential of the crop, e.g.,
price and ease of marketing, plus the amount of time
and labor needed to grow it. Soybean was particularly
singled out across all regions as requiring less labor than
maize. Common fennel in the Northwest rainfed spring
region, sunflower in the North rainfed spring region,
and sugarcane in the Southwest rainfed spring/fall/
winter region2 were also recognized for their labor
saving attributes. Farmers in the North rainfed spring
region and the Northwest rainfed spring region were
more likely than those in other regions, with the
exception of certain villages in the Southwest rainfed
spring/fall/winter maize system, to consider the crop's
potential for direct household consumption when
deciding among competing crops.



3.2.2. Tradeoffs between maize and
other crops

Discussions also took place regarding farmers'
perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of
maize and other crops cultivated in their villages
(Table 3.5). The importance of maize as a source of
income is evident across all production systems. The fact
that farmers clearly identified it as a source of food and
feed for animals raised in the household reinforced its
importance in direct and indirect food security.



2 Rainfed spring/fall/winter includes spring (one season) maize; spring and
fall, and spring and winter (two seasons) maize systems; and spring, fall,
and winter (three seasons) maize systems in the Southwest region.


Table 3.4. Preferred substitute crops for maize in surveyed villages.

Agroecological Maize Winter maize
region production system Spring maize Summer maize Fall maize (sweet corn)
Northeast Rainfed spring soybean, potato, melons No No No
North Rainfed spring millet, broomcorn millet,
soybean, sorghum, potato,
sunflower, red bean No No No
Northwest Rainfed spring soybean, potato, common
fennel, tobacco No No No
Yellow-Huai River Valley Irrigated summer cotton, peanuts, sweet cotton, soybean,
potato, fruit hot pepper, millet No No
Southwest Rainfed spring cot pepper, soybean, soybean, vegetables, vegetables
ginger, cotton, peanut, black bean, sweet potato
sweet potato, winter melon,
sugar cane, cassava, banana
Source: IFAD-CIMMYT-CCAP RRA/PRA Surveys, 2001-2002.










Table 3.5. Perceived advantages and disadvantages of maize by farmer group.
Agroecological Maize production Rich male Rich female Poor male Poor female
region system Advantages Disadvantages Advantages Disadvantages Advantages Disadvantages Advantages Disadvantages
Northeast Rainfed spring Source of Source Low yield Labor saving Low Good Low
income Low yield of income profitability yield profitability
Used as Unstable Used Unstable Government Affected by Easy to Affected by
feed and low price as feed price purchase price drought sell drought
Can be Affected by Stalks burned Affected Easy Unstable Source
intercropped drought as fuel by drought to sell price of income
Labor Good for Home Home
saving non-level land consumption consumption
Easy to Easy to Used Used
mnrket mnrkt (is feed (is feed
Labor Stalks burned Easy to
saving as fuel manage
Easy to manage
Ditticult to guarantee ot Attected by brain and stalks Susceptible to Unstable
North Rainfed spring High yield store in summer food drought used as feed disease Safe crop price
Not affected Not good
Stable yield Difficult to sell by hail to eat Safe crop Hiah yield
Drought High labor Easier to sell
tolerant High yield requirements than other crops Stable yield
Not affected Source of Can be sold at
by hail income decent prices
Good source
of income Used as feed
Easy to grow and
manaqe in field
Flexibility in
harvest time
Northwest Rainfed spring Used for feed Low price Stable yield Low price Safe crop Low price Used as feed Low yields Low price
Can be exchanged Home High fertilizer
for rice and wheat flour Used for feed Used as feed consumption requirements
Lan be exchanged tor
Sold for income Source of income rice and flour
Lan be exchanged tor Lan be exchanged
rice and wheat flour for other goods Labor saving
Good marketability
Yellow-Huai Source of Source of Source of
River Valley Irrigated summer income Low profit income Low price Used as feed Low price income Low price
Requires pesticides Good to eat Requires pesticides
-susceptible to (maize porridge Easy to -susceptible to
Used as feed Unstable yield Used as feed insects and diseases and steamed buns) Low profit manage insects and diseases
Home consumption Home consumption
(maize porridge and Disease and pest (maize porridge Good
steamed buns) susceptibility and steamed buns) Fake seeds Labor saving marketability Fake seeds
Good Good Better yield Good for cropping
marketability marketability than soybean with wheat
More labor saving than
cotton, garlic, pepper Food guarantee
Good for cropping
Residues used for fuel with wheat
Better yield
Easy to irrigate than soybean
Painted spring Not drought Not drought Attected by drought Susceptible to
Southwest (one season) Used as feed tolerant Good yields tolerant Used for feed and water logging Used for feed disease and insects
Susceptible to Source of Source of
Source of income Used for feed disease and insects income Lodging income
Susceptible to
Source Home disease Home
of income consumption and insects consumption
Home consumption
Painted Home Susceptible to Home Home Home Low
spring/fall consumption disease and insects consumption Low yields consumption Low yield consumption yields in drought
Susceptible to Used as Susceptible to
Used as feed Used as feed Lodaina problems Used as feed disease and insects feed disease and insects
Surplus can Source of Susceptible to Source of Source of Not drought
he s ld inrnme dkicn nnd incprte inrnme inrnme tnlrnnt
Stalks burned Stalks burned Affected by Used for government Can sell Affected by
as fuel as fuel water logging grain quota maize stalks water loqqing
Labor saving
relative to rice
Rainfed Not as tasty Lower price
spring/winter Staple food as rice Staple food than rice Staple food None Staple food Low price
brain and stalks used brain and stalks Attected by
as feed Used for feed Used for feed used as feed wind
Stalks burned
as fuel Source of income
Source: IFAD-CIMMYT-CCAP RRA/PRA Surveys, 2001-2002.









3.3. Land Preparation and Crop
Management Practices

3.3.1 Land preparation and sowing
A range of land preparation practices is utilized across
the agroecological regions, although considerable
differences were observed between areas with single-
season cropping patterns and those with multiple-
season cropping patterns. In areas of the Northeast,
North, and Northwest regions characterized by single-
season cropping, land preparation takes place over a
period of several months. Traditionally, after the fall
harvest, fields are deep-tilled to remove stubble from the
preceding crop and prepare for spring production. If
irrigation water is available, it is applied at this time;
regardless of irrigation, manure may be applied.

According to participants in the group discussions, the
major benefits of this winter till is that it allows
collecting fall and winter precipitation, preserving the
resulting moisture deep in the soil, and eradicating soil
pests. Winter plowed land also captures the early
spring sunshine more effectively, which raises soil
temperature and improves seed germination. Farmers
also recognized that winter tillage has a disadvantage:
it induces soil erosion when strong winter winds blow
over areas with little snow cover. The land is tilled a
second time immediately prior to maize planting and
often harrowed as well. Most farmers who use this
practice also apply chemical fertilizer during planting.

Although most survey participants in these northern
regions continued to practice fall tilling, the practice has
decreased because of the increasing number of farmers
with off-farm employment during the agricultural off-
season and the opportunity costs associated with
returning home or staying home to plow. Moreover, the
practice of manure application, which takes place at the
same time as fall tilling, has also begun to decline in
some areas due to time and labor requirements (this
activity is usually carried out by young men), and to
decreasing household supplies of manure. A single
spring tilling and chemical fertilizer application prior to
planting is becoming more common for their lower labor
and machinery costs.

Some farmers in the North and Northwest regions also
carry out an additional tilling at the seedling stage of
the spring maize crop. This consists of piling soil up on
the upper roots of the plant to prevent lodging,
increase soil moisture retention, and control weeds.
This practice is repeated once or twice before tasseling.

In the majority of villages in the Northeast, most
surveyed farmers reported using machines for land
preparation, fertilizer application, and planting,
although some continue to use draft animals for tilling.


Most villages in the North irrigated and rainfed spring
regions also use machines for land preparation,
although draft animals continue to be used, particularly
in rainfed areas. If using draft animals for fall tilling,
farmers generally wait until spring tilling to apply
fertilizer because they believe that soil is not tilled
deeply enough by animal traction. Manpower is also
used in particularly small plots. Machines are common
in Northwest irrigated and rainfed spring maize areas;
however, manpower and animal traction are used just
as much as mechanization in rainfed areas, particularly
to remove crop stubble. Sowing was most frequently
done by human labor in both the North and Northwest.

Farmers in the North rainfed spring and Northwest
irrigated spring maize frequently utilized plastic
covering (mulching) for maize cultivation. Plastic is laid
on the land following tilling and either land leveling or
furrowing. The plastic can be spread either before or after
maize planting with the use of animals or by hand. In all
surveyed villages, sowing is done largely by hand.
Farmers credit the use of plastic mulch with raising soil
temperatures, reducing weeds, and preserving soil
moisture. The technology's advantages are particularly
evident in North China, where the frost-free period is
short. However due to higher input costs and labor
requirements, the degree to which plastic mulch is used
for maize production varies across households.

In survey sites in the Yellow-Huai River Valley, farmers
plant maize directly after the wheat harvest with no
tillage. Wheat is harvested by combine, and maize is
seeded manually or with a seeding machine into the
wheat residues. For maize intercropped with vegetables
(a frequently observed cropping system, particularly
maize and garlic), two practices were observed. In the
first, farmers leave a wide space for summer crops when
planting garlic, wheat, or other winter crops. For
example, farmers leave 40-60 cm for maize between 4 to
6 wheat rows, approximately 20 cm apart. In the spring,
maize is sown into the space 30 to 45 days before the
winter crop is harvested. Manure or inorganic fertilizer
is applied prior to maize planting.

The longer maize cycle made possible by planting before
harvesting the winter crop has a positive effect on yields,
but was believed by some farmers to reduce winter crop
yields due to the reduced area planted. In the second
practice, maize is usually sown 10-15 days before
harvesting the winter crop (wheat and garlic, among
others), but without the use of wider row spacing, to
minimize the negative effects on winter crop yields.
Maize yields are usually lower than with the first practice
because a later sowing date limits the height of maize at
the time of wheat harvest. Machinery is also used for
land preparation in the Yellow-Huai River Valley, but
sowing practices include the use of manual labor as well
as of machines and animals to pull seeders.









Wheat-maize intercropping practices (especially wide
spacing) are also used in irrigated spring maize in the
Southwest. The use of transplanted seedlings, common
in irrigated spring maize, was also found in rainfed
spring maize areas. The practice gives farmers more
time for land preparation or allows more time for the
preceding crop to grow. In Sichuan province, farmers
raise maize seedlings and transplant them to the wheat
field right after the wheat harvest. The disadvantage of
the practice lies in the higher labor costs required to
produce and transplant the seedlings.

Farmers in other maize systems in the Southwest,
including rainfed summer maize and rainfed spring/fall/
winter maize, carry out land preparation and planting
activities using mainly animal traction and manual labor.
Many farmers raise cattle and other livestock specifically
for cropping activities and for producing organic fertilizer.
Farmers noted that animal traction was often the only
method suitable for tilling the small and/or mountainous
plots typical of much of Guangxi province.



3.3.2. Crop management practices
Fewer differences were observed across maize systems
in the five regions with respect to the application of
chemical fertilizers. In addition to the base fertilizer
applied at planting by all farmers, most farmers also
apply a topdressing (usually nitrogen) at least once
(and sometimes twice). If fertilizer is applied only once,
application takes place at the booting stage (ear
development). The second application, if it occurs, is at
the elongation stage. Farmers opted for one application
to reduce chemical costs and labor use, and to shorten
the interval between base fertilizer application and
fertilization at elongation.

Because land is not tilled for summer maize in the Yellow-
Huai River Valley, farmers apply base fertilizer on the
preceding crop before intercropping the maize or after
roguing (thinning of seedlings). In some areas, fertilizer is
applied after elongation instead of at the seedling stage.

Across regions, weeding is done depending on
necessity. However, in most cases, weeding is done
together with roguing, fertilizer application, and pest
control. Farmers in the Northeast, North, and
Northwest regions generally weeded twice; a single
weeding was more likely in the Yellow-Huai River
Valley and the Southwest. Farm animals and manual
labor were most commonly used for weeding in the
Northeast, North, and Northwest regions. The
advantage of using animals was primarily speed and
labor savings; the disadvantage was that the animals
could damage the seedlings. Weed control in the
Yellow-Huai River Valley irrigated summer maize
system and the Southwest irrigated spring maize
system is carried out both with herbicides and by hand.


Weeding in the remaining maize systems is primarily
carried out by hand. The use of pesticides was
mentioned only in the Yellow-Huai River Valley
irrigated summer maize region, where they are applied
by male labor. All other pest control is carried out by
hand. Finally, with a few exceptions where machines
are used, all maize is harvested manually.

Table 3.6 summarizes information on land
preparation and crop management practices farmers
use on maize in survey sites from the various maize
agroecological regions.



3.4. Soil Management Practices

Farmers were asked to describe any management
practices they applied to reduce or prevent soil erosion
and improve soil fertility. Farmers participating in our
discussion groups in the Northeast rainfed spring
region and the Yellow-Huai River Valley irrigated
summer maize region did not implement any practices
targeted at erosion. Those in the Yellow-Huai River
Valley rainfed summer region and the North irrigated
and rainfed spring regions described a practice that
involved raking and compressing soil to conserve
moisture and control erosion. Farmers in the North
region highlighted that fall/winter deep tilling helps
moisture from rain and snow penetrate the soil. Some
farmers in the Northwest mentioned digging ditches
and building ridges to retain soil and level sloping
lands, but many others did not apply management
practices targeted at preventing soil erosion. Farmers
across the Southwest maize systems used a variety of
methods, including digging ditches and building soil
ridges and walls. Covering the soil with plastic
sheeting is also believed to prevent erosion. Many
farmers in the North, Northeast, Northwest, and
Southwest regions had participated in government
programs that promoted planting trees and grass to
minimize soil erosion.

Participants in the Northeast felt that soil fertility in
their maize fields was generally good. Thus they did
not carry out activities specifically to improve fertility
levels, with the exception of deep tilling, which they
believed improves soil fertility by loosening the soil
and increasing ground temperature. Both green
manure crops and the application of soybean and
cotton seed cakes have been utilized in the region in
the past, but the use of arable land for green manure
crops and the cost of the soybean and cotton cakes
posed strong disincentives for their use. In all regions,
manure application was singled out as a key means of
improving soil fertility; it also results in easier
weeding, less compact soil, more soil moisture
retention, and higher soil temperatures. The perceived
disadvantages of manure application included high
labor requirements and increased weeds.













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All farmers in the North, Northwest, Yellow-Huai River
Valley, and Southwest regions mentioned a government
program aimed at "returning residues to the fields" as a
means of improving soil fertility. Difficulties
encountered by farmers, particularly in the North and
Northwest, included the additional cost of purchasing
or leasing machines to chop the residues and the fact
that they use the residues as animal feed. Arid climates
within these two regions were believed to impede the
breakdown of residues, which negatively affected
seedling emergence.



3.5. Maize Varieties

3.5.1. Farmers' preferred traits

Farmers ranked the characteristics they considered to be
most important in a maize variety. Table 3.7 compiles the
top three characteristics ranked by each group according to
the maize production system. High yield was the highest


ranked characteristic in almost every farmer group across all
agroecological regions. Drought tolerance, lodging resistance,
and disease and pest resistance also consistently ranked high
among the groups. Farmers in the Northeast and Yellow-Huai
River Valley regions were particularly concerned with good
germination. Characteristics related to the cropping system,
including suitability for intercropping, were also raised in the
Yellow-Huai River Valley and Southwest regions. Stalks that
broke down easily after harvest was also a trait valued by
farmers in the Yellow-Huai River Valley.

Characteristics such as color were not frequently
mentioned, but did appear in the rankings of farmer
groups in the Southwest, Northwest, and Northeast
regions. A reddish-yellow (orange) color was preferred
by groups of poor farmers, both men and women, in the
Northeast and Northwest regions. However, a pure
yellow color was preferred in maize for consumption
and sale in the rainfed spring and fall systems of the
Southwest. Some farmers in the North rainfed spring
region also considered maize of this color easier to sell.


Table 3.7. Most important maize characteristics by farmer group.

Agroecological Maize
region production system Rich male Rich female Poor male Poor female

Northeast Rainfed spring High yield High yield High yield High yield
Drought tolerant Drought tolerant Good germination Drought tolerant
Insect resistant Insect resistant Drought tolerant Short duration
Pure seed Good germination Resistant to lodging Full kernels
Good germination
North Rainfed spring High yield High yield Drought tolerant High yield
Disease resistant Short duration High yield Fully developed cob
Resistant to lodging Disease resistant Short duration Disease resistant
Resistant to lodging Disease resistant Good germinatio
Northwest Rainfed spring High yield High yield High yielding High yield
Drought tolerant Reddish-yellow color Drought tolerant Drought tolerant
Resistant to lodging Drought tolerant Resistant to disease Short duration
Short duration Short duration
Resistant to lodging
Yellow-Huai River Valley Irrigated summer High yield High yield High yield High yield
Good germination Resistant to lodging Disease resistant Disease and insect resistant
Stable yield Disease and insect resistant Big cob size Resistant to lodging
Short duration Big kernel size Good germination Big cob size
Southwest Rainfed spring High yield High yield High yield High yield
(one season) Disease resistant Disease resistant Good for intercropping Disease resistant
(leaves should not block sun)
Good for intercropping Short stature Thin cob Drought tolerant
Rainfed spring/fall High yield High yield High yield High yield
Drought tolerant Good price Drought tolerant Resistant to lodging
Not affected by waterlogging Disease resistant Disease tolerant Resistant to disease and insects
Resistant to disease and insects Big kernels Resistant to lodging Short duration
Rainfed spring/winter High yield High yield High yield High yield
Drought tolerant Resistant to lodging Disease resistant Stable yield
Resistant to lodging Drought tolerant Resistant to lodging Big cob size
Stable yield Seed can be saved Good germination Seed can be saved
Source: IFAD-CIMMYT-(CAP RRA/PRA Surveys, 2001-2002.









Characteristics that appeared more frequently in the
rankings included big ears and full kernels, although
this trait is related to production concerns. Only groups
in the Southwest and Northwest considered taste to be
of importance in selecting a maize variety. Farmers in
the Southwest rainfed spring/winter region also
looked for varieties that were suitable for hilly or
mountainous terrain and had good storage qualities.


3.5.2. Cultivated varieties

With very few exceptions, the varieties cultivated across
all maize agroecological regions in China are hybrids.
According to surveyed farmers in the Northeast, Yellow-
Huai River Valley, and the Southwest irrigated spring
maize region, no OPVs or local varieties were cultivated
in these systems. Afew local varieties are still sown in
small areas in the irrigated spring and rainfed spring
maize systems of the North and Northwest agroecological
regions. These include glutinous (waxy) varieties that
were praised for their consumption qualities. Other traits
attributed by farmers to the local varieties found in those
systems include a short cycle and low yields. Because of
their short cycle, these varieties are used to fill unexpected
gaps in maize plots caused by germination problems in
seed from other varieties.

Both OPVs and local varieties, including glutinous (waxy)
varieties, continue to be cultivated in areas of the
Southwest rainfed spring, fall, and winter maize systems.
Hybrid varieties covered the largest share of the spring
maize area, but local varieties and, particularly, OPVs
occupied a much larger portion of the fall maize area than
hybrids. Compared with 1996 estimates, the share of local
varieties appears to have decreased slightly, while that of
hybrid varieties has increased (Song, 1998). Local varieties
and OPVs are considered to be better adapted to the
climate and soil conditions in mountainous terrain.


Specifically, farmers considered the reduced amount of
sunlight and shallow soils to be limiting factors for the
performance of commercial hybrid varieties. Percent area
planted to different maize types across maize production
systems is provided in Table 3.8.

Farmer perceptions of OPVs and local varieties differed
across survey sites in the Southwest. The fact that
farmers could save seed of OPVs and local varieties for
planting next cycle was frequently cited as an important
advantage. However, local varieties and OPVs are no
longer cultivated in several villages due to low yields
and insect and disease problems. In sites where local
varieties are still sown, their low yields were
acknowledged as disadvantages, but their consumption
qualities were also highlighted. Glutinous maize (waxy)
varieties were particularly singled out for consumption
quality and for preparing specific foods, but these
varieties did not seem to be considered the main staple
crop in the same way as other maize varieties are. They
are often planted in small mountain plots only after the
primary maize crop has been planted.

In villages where OPVs are no longer cultivated, the main
reasons given for their replacement included their long
cycle, physical properties (e.g., tall stature and big leaves
that require greater plant spacing), low yields, and high
grain moisture content at harvest. Opinions of their
consumption qualities varied considerably. In villages
where cultivation continues, farmers seemed generally
pleased with the big kernel and ear size, and consumption
qualities. Because of their drought tolerance, hybrid
varieties are preferred for fall planting by many farmers in
the Southwest rainfed spring/ fall maize system, where
drought is a major production constraint.

Table 3.9 compiles the varieties named during the
survey, farmers' main reasons for sowing them, and
sources of information about the variety.


Table 3.8. Share (%) of maize type by maize system.

Variety type in Variety type in Variety type in Variety type in
Spring maize area summer maize area autumn maize area winter maize area
Agroecological local local local local
region Maize system variety OPV hybrids variety OPV hybrids variety OPV hybrids variety OPV hybrids
Northeast Rainfed spring 0.00 0.00 100.00
North Irrigated spring 0.33 0.00 99.67
Rainfed spring 0.14 0.00 99.86
Northwest Irrigated spring 0.50 0.00 99.50 0.00 0.00 100.00
Rainfed spring 0.25 0.00 99.75 0.75 0.00 99.25
Yellow-Huai Irrigated summer 0.00 0.00 100.00 0.00 0.00 100.00
River Valley Rainfed spring/summer 0.50 0.00 99.50 0.00 0.00 100.00
Southwest Rainfed spring/summer 15.0 0.0 85.0 15.80 0.00 84.30
Irrigated spring 0.00 0.00 100.00
Rainfed spring (all sites) 13.32 10.42 76.26 23.00 19.50 57.50 1.7 26.7 71.7
Rainfed spring (one season) 5.0 2.8 92.2
Rainfed spring/fall 26.0 17.0 57.0 32.0 23.0 45.0
Rainfed spring/winter 6.0 29.3 64.7 3.3 26.7 70.0 1.7 26.7 71.67
Source:IFAD-CIMMYT-CAP RRA/PRA surveys, 2001-2002.









Table 3.9. Cultivated varieties by agroecological region, reasons for cultivation, and source of information.

Maize agroecological region Variety name Reasons for cultivation Source of information about variety

Northeast rainfed spring Hybrid
Dan yu 13 high yield, bigger ear, good agronomic characters seed company
(tall stature, upright leaf), drought tolerant, early maturity
Dan yu 15 high yield, bigger ear, good agronomic characters (tall stature, seed company
upright leaf), drought tolerant, early maturity
Dan yu 22 high yield, big kernel seed company
Deng Hai No. 9 high yield, seed company, relatives or friends
planted experimentally, needed to change variety,
full season maturity,
strongly extended by government, insect tolerant
Deng Hai No. 1 high yield, lodging resistant, agricultural technology extension station,
recommended by government extension agents, seed company
wide adaptability (to different environments)
Hai dan 2 high yield, insect tolerant seed company
Hai He 3 high yield, good color, lodging resistant, good agronomic agricuhural technology extension station
characters (tall stature, upright leaf), disease tolerant
Gong Zhu No.1 high yield, needed to change variety, drought tolerant agricultural technology extension station
Ji danl 80 early maturity, big kernel, easy to buy, high yield, seed company
stable performance, no barren kernels at the tip of ear
Ji dan 209 early maturity, stable performance, agricultural research institute, provincial academy
recommended by government extension agents, of agricultural sciences
high price, high yield, big kernel
K508 bigger ear, big kernel seed company
Liao dan 24 high yield, tolerant to high density planting, lodging seed company
resistant, drought tolerant, disease resistant
CAU 108 big kernel, big ear, high yield, stress tolerant seed company
CAU 180 early maturity seed company
CAU3138 high yield seed company
Shaan dan 911 bigger ear, big kernel provincial academy of agricultural sciences
Si dan 158 high yield, insect tolerant, seed company
make good advertisement
Si Mi 21 high yield, plump seed, big kernel, early maturity, provincial academy of agricultural sciences,
tolerant to high density planting, resistant to smut, seed company, agricultural technology extension station
good germination, local hybrid, drought tolerant
Si Mi 25 stable performance, early maturity, new variety, seed company, agricultural technology extension station
good germination, tolerant to high density planting
Tie dan 10 full season, high yield seed company
Xi dan 2 high yield, new variety seed company
Xin 81 high yield, lodging resistant, disease tolerant agricultural technology extension station, provincial
academy of agricultural sciences
Xin Tie 10 high yield, drought tolerant, big ear, agricultural technology extension station, seed company
big kernel
Ye dan 44 early maturity, high yield, agricultural research institute, agricultural technology
stable performance, lodging resistant extension station


Ye dan 51
Zheng dan 958
Huang Mo
(HuangZao4xMol7)


stable performance, early maturity
high yield, big ear
stable yield, short duration (less than 120 days and
earlier than Zhong Dan 2), used to fill in spaces where
seed from other varieties has not generated


seed company
seed company
na


seed company
seed company
ua









Table 3.9. Cont'd...

Maize agroecological region Variety name Reasons for cultivation Source of information about variety

North irrigated spring
Hybrid
Jin don 30 high yield, high protein level, easy to sell seed company
Jin don 36 drought tolerant, lodging resistant, seed company, agriculture college
disease tolerant, no barren kernel on the tip of ear
Moo yu 22 planted experimentally seed company
CAU 108 high yield, drought tolerant private traders, seed company
CAU 602 high yield, plump kernel agriculture college
CAU3138 high yield seed company
Shaan don 911 drought tolerant, high yield seed company
Zhong don No. 2 high yield seed company
North rainfed spring
Hybrid
Zhong don 9409 Quality protein maize, new variety seed company
Don yu early maturity, high yield, big ear seed company, agricultural bureau
Goo Nong 1 high yield seed company
Goo Nong 5 adapted to local environments seed company
Jin don 30 high yield, high protein level, easy to sell seed company
Jin don 34 high yield, new variety seed company
Jin don 35 high yield seed company
Jin don 34 high yield, plant experimentally seed company
Jin don 36 wide adaptability (to different environments), seed company, provincial academy of agricultural sciences
high yield
CAU108 adapted to local environments, agricultural technology extension station, seed company
high yield
CAU 602 high yield, plump kernel agriculture college
CAU 3138 high yield, big kernel seed company, agricultural technology extension station
Tai don 30 high yield seed company
Tang Kong 5 adapted to local environments, early maturity seed company
Yan don 14 adapted to local environments seed company
Ye don 13 high yield seed company
Ye don 51 high yield
Zhang yu 1 adapted to local environments, early maturity, high yield seed company
Zhong don No.2 high yield agricultural research institute
Zhong don 13 planted experimentally seed company
Zhong yuan don 32 high yield seed company
Local
Bai maya (white dent) good consumption quality taste
Northwest irrigated spring
Hybrid
Don yu 13 high yield, big ear, planted experimentally seed company
Shaan don 911 high yield, tolerant to high density agricultural technology extension station
planting, big kernel, full season
Zhong dan No.2 high yield, adapted to local environments, seed company, agricultural technology extension
early maturity, disease resistant station, collective (village/village team)









Table 3.9. Cont'd...

Maize agroecological region Variety name Reasons for cultivation Source of information about variety

North irrigated spring
Han dan 931 high yield Agricultural technology extension station
Hu dan 4 cannot buy the desired seed seed company
Shaan dan 9 plump kernel, early maturity seed company
Shaan dan 911 big ear, high yield seed company
Shen dan 10 high yield, early maturity seed company
Zhong dan No.2 high yield seed company, agricultural technology extension station
Local
Xiao bai (early white) maize good to eat (sweet), early maturity, family, neighbors
thin skinned kernels
Yellow-Huai River Valley
irrigated summer
Hybrid
984 new variety seed company
Dan yu 13 early maturity, new variety relatives and friends
Deng Hai No.1 early maturity, high yield seed company, relatives and friends
Deng Hai 9 early maturity, high yield, recommended by seed company, obtained from another county
government extension agents for high yield, drought
tolerant, lodging resistant, disease tolerant
Fu hua 1 high yield seed company
Lu dan 14 new variety, high yield, big ear, early maturity, seed company, seed company township station
good color, stable performance, tolerant to high
density planting
Lu dan 50 high yield, disease tolerant, disease and insect seed company township station, seed company
tolerant, big ear, strong seedling
Lu dan 109 high yield seed company township station
Lu dan 963 lodging resistant, big ear, new variety agricultural technology extension station
Lu dan 981 new variety, high yield, disease tolerant seed company
Lu yu 10 early maturity, tolerant to high density planting, seed company
big kernel, high yield, big ear, lodging resistant
CAU 108 high yield, lodging resistant, new variety, seed company, seed company township station
drought tolerant, wind resistant, disease tolerant
CAU 3138 big ear, high yield, no options for other varieties seed company seed company township station
Shen dan 7 big ear, thin cob (internal), high yield
Shen dan 10 high yield, big ear, lodging resistant, disease seed company, seed company township station
and insect tolerant,
Tun yu No.1 lodging resistant, early maturity, high yield seed company
Xi yu No.1 big ear, lodging resistant seed company
Yan dan 14 the only variety available in village at the time seed company township station
Ye dan No.2 the only variety available in village at the time agricultural technology extension station
Ye dan 12 stable performance, few varieties available then, seed company, seed company township station
high yield, stable production, disease tolerant,
lodging resistant, new variety
Ye dan 13 high yield, stable performance seed company, seed company township station
Ye dan 14 few other choices for varieties seed company township station
Ye dan 19 new variety seed company township station
Zheng dan 958 lodging resistant, high yield, thin cob (internal), seed company township station, agricultural
big kernel research institute









Table 3.9. Contd...

Maize agroecological region Variety name Reasons for cultivation Source of information about variety

Yellow-Huai River Valley
rainfed summer Hybrid
Dan yu series high yield, no choice for other varieties private traders, seed company township station
Jin dan High yield, recommended by government seed company township station
extension agents
CAU 3138 big ear, high yield, no options for other varieties seed company, seed company township station
Zhong dan No. 2 high yield seed company township station
Southwest rainfed summer
Hybrid
Hu dan No. 4 early maturity, short stature seed company township station
Mao yu 22 high yield, good profit, full season, stable seed company township station
performance, drought tolerant
Mian dan No.1 full season, stable performance, drought tolerant seed company township station
CAU 3138 short stature, upright leaves good for intercropping seed company township station
Shaan dan 902 high yield, big kernel, good color seed company township station
early maturity
Shaan dan 911 high yield, introduced by neighbors, seed company, seed company township station
good consumption quality taste
Ye dan 13 short stature, upright leaves good for seed company township station
intercropping, high yield, new variety
Yun dan 1 good consumption quality- taste, seed company township station
full season
Zheng dan 958 high yield, short stature, upright leaves seed company township station, seed company,
-good for intercropping, agricultural technology extension station
good consumption quality- taste
Southwest irrigated spring
Hybrid
9313 recommended by government extension agents agricultural bureau
Chen dan 14 early maturity agricultural bureau
Chen dan 19 high yield, tolerant to high density planting, high agricultural technology extension station,
yield, recommended by government extension agents, seed company, Agricultural bureau
short stature
Chuan dan 9 high yield agricultural technology extension station
CAU 108 high yield, recommended by government extension agricultural technology extension station, seed company
agents, planted experimentally
Zheng dan 958 high yield agricultural technology extension station
Southwest rainfed
spring (one season)
Hybrid
2 hao huang big ear seed company
3 hao huang big ear seed company
Cheng dan 18 high yield, easy to shell, big kernel, agricultural technology extension station, seed company
recommended by extension agents,
short stature, big ear
Cheng dan 931 recommended by extension agents seed company
Chuan dan 9 big ear, thin cob (internal) seed company
Chuan dan 13 high yield, recommended by extension agents agricultural technology extension station
Do Zai high yield variety from Shaanxi
Dan yu thin cob (internal), lodging resistant seed company township station, seed company









Table 3.9. Contd...

Maize agroecological region Variety name Reasons for cultivation Source of information about variety
Gui ding 1 lodging resistant agricultural bureau
Guo chan 2 short stature seed company
Jian she 1 big ear, short stature, wind resistant seed company
Non 7 lodging resistant, high yield seed company
CAU 108 no no
Ya yu 2 big ear, thin cob (internal), no options for other varieties seed company, agricultural technology extension station
Ye don 13 high yield, recommended by government extension agents agricuhural technology extension station
yu le 1 no agricultural technology extension station
Zheng Do 619 recommended by extension agents, adapted to agricuhural technology extension station,
local environments, planted experimentally, high yield agricultural bureau
Zhong don No.2 recommended by extension agents, high yield agricultural technology extension station
OPV
Mo Huang recommended by extension agents, agricultural technology extension station,
(Mol 7xHuangzoo4) high yield, lodging resistant agricultural bureau
Local
Bai ma ya (white dent) good consumption quality taste agricultural technology extension station
Southwest rainfed
spring/fall
Hybrid
Chao Tian 20 early maturity no
Chuan don 13 drought tolerant, disease and insect tolerant agricultural technology extension station
Chuan don 9 high yield agricultural technology extension station
Gui don 5 drought tolerant, disease tolerant, big ear agricultural technology extension station
Gui don 16 recommended by extension agents provincial maize research institute
Gui don 22 high yield, stable performance agricultural technology extension station
Gui ding No.1 high yield, recommended by extension agents agricultural technology extension station, provincial
maize research institute
Gui son 5 adapted to local environments, disease tolerant, new variety agricultural technology extension station
Hua don No.1 drought tolerant agricultural research institute
Han don 931 high yield, stable performance agricuhural technology extension station
Non ding No.1 big kernel, drought tolerant agricultural technology extension station,
agricultural research institute
CAU 3138 high yield, planted experimentally agricultural technology extension station
song yon 32 high yield agricultural research institute
Ye don 13 recommended by extension agents, big kernel agricultural technology extension station
OPV
Mo bai (Tuxpeno 1) drought tolerant, insect tolerant, low nitrogen tolerant, provincial maize research institute
big kernels, thin ear
Local
Glutinous maize (waxy) good to eat, early harvest, doesn't lodge, can save seed family, neighbors
Bai ma ya (white dent) can save money by saving seed, higher yielding than local yellow family, neighbors
Local Yellow can save seeds, good for maize porridge, good ear family, neighbors
development, resistant to disease, earlier maturity









Table 3.9. Contd...

Maize agroecological region Variety name Reasons for cultivation Source of information about variety

Southwest rainfed
spring/winter
Hybrid
833 no choice for other varieties agricultural technology extension station
Gui don 22 high yield, good consumption quality taste need company
Gui don 26 high yield seed company
Gui son 1 recommended by government extension agents, agricultural technology extension station
high yield, lodging resistant
Gui son 5 recommended by extension agents agricultural technology extension station
Huo don recommended by extension agents, drought tolerant, agricultural technology extension station,
lodging resistant, planted by neighbors, relatives or friends
big ear, big kernel
Huo yu drought tolerant, wind resistant, disease tolerant, agricultural technology extension
high yield, planted by neighbors station, seed company
Non ding No.1 planted experimentally, recommended by agricultural technology extension station,
extension agents, high yields agricultural research institute
Non Xiao planted experimentally agricultural technology extension station
CAU 3138 planted experimentally agricultural technology extension station
Ye don 13 Short stature, drought tolerant, tolerant to high densely agricultural technology extension station
Zheng Do 619 high yield, new variety, agricultural technology extension station, seed company
short stature, drought tolerant, lodging resistant, high yield
OPV
Mo bai (Tuxpeno 1) can save seeds, good to eat, long ear, big kernels, considered agricultural technology extension station
by former in some villages not to lodge and be drought
tolerant (although others disagreed)
Mo huang can save seeds, good for pig feed sweeter taste, good to eat agricultural technology extension station
(MollxHuangzoo4)
Local
Bai ma ya (white dent) well adapted to hilly plots, drought tolerant, big ear, family, neighbors
considered delicious by some (but not all) households,
stable yield, good for feed, good root system and can
use fertilizer efficiently, shorter stature compared to
other variety options, can save seed
Local Yellow good for feed, woterlogging tolerant, family, neighbors
delicious, doesn't rot easily,
resistant to small black bug, tall stature but doesn't lodge
Yellow glutinous well adapted to hilly plots, drought tolerant, family, neighbors
maize (waxy) good to eat, early maturity
White glutinous well adapted to hilly plots, drought tolerant, used for home family, neighbors
maize (waxy) consumption (particularly in specific dish "ciba"), can substitute
for rice, short stature doesn't lodge, fewer insects
Source:IFAD-CIMMYT (-CCAP RRA/PRA surveys, 2001-2002.









3.6. Level of Input Use
Input use across maize production systems is presented
in Tables 3.10a and 3.10b. Production costs were not
calculated for surveyed villages, but estimated
production costs for the surveyed provinces in 1999-2001
from the National Agricultural Production Cost and
Revenue Information Summary are presented in Table
3.11. The cost of materials is highest in Guangxi and Jilin
provinces, although cost in Jilin decreased over the
observed time period. The opportunity costs of labor are
consistently higher in Sichuan province.


3.7. Sources of Technology
Information
Although the extension system in China has been
negatively impacted by the lack of funds, expanded
agenda, and often conflicting objectives (including selling
inputs to the same farmers to whom they disseminate
information), government extension stations and
agricultural input companies continue to be a major
source of technological information for farmers in the
surveyed villages. Extension stations are managed largely
at the township level, although county-managed stations
also exist. Government input companies are largely
managed at the county level and located in the county
seat. The importance of technology sources varies
considerably across maize production systems. Seed
companies in the Southwest region and private traders in
the Northwest region play a role in disseminating
information about maize production technologies, while
in the Northeast farmers rely heavily on other farmers for
their information.


3.8. Yields and Yield Gap
Given the differences between minimum and
maximum yields observed within each village, farmers
were asked to discuss the reasons for the yield gap.
Except in the Yellow-Huai River Valley, difference in
soil quality was the explanation provided across all
agroecological regions and maize systems. However,
the most prevalent reasons were related to farmers'
management and their ability to purchase the optimal
amount of inputs, particularly fertilizer. Table 3.14
summarizes the main reasons provided by farmers in
each region to explain the existence of the yield gap
among farmers in their villages.


3.9. Post-Harvest Practices
Across all agroecological regions and maize systems,
harvested maize was taken to the household for air or sun
drying. Storage methods ranged from the use of bags,
small storehouses, and piles outside the home to storage
in clay urns and on shelves in wooden cupboards. Maize
is primarily shelled by machine across all regions,
although shelling by hand continues to take place in


North China and, particularly in the Southwest maize
systems. Except in the Southwest, where maize is generally
shelled immediately after harvest in all three seasons due to
weather-related reasons and insect problems, maize in all
other surveyed locations is usually stored, and the timing of
shelling is determined by marketing needs. In areas of the
North and Northwest regions, seed of local varieties, which is
saved for the next crop, is often hung outside the house. In
the Southwest, again due to climatic and insect problems,
seed is generally stored in closed containers kept inside the
house. Farmers in one village in the Southwest rainfed spring
region commented that they stored maize seed separately
from maize grain (together with their money) in the safest
and driest place in the house.

Farmers in all surveyed villages had access to electric mills
in their villages. Some households in the irrigated summer
maize systems of the Yellow-Huai River and the
Southwest rainfed spring system had access to small
electric home mills. Table 3.15 summarizes post harvest
practices in the various agroecological regions.


3.10. Production and Utilization
Trends

Farmers discussed their perceptions of trends in maize
production and consumption over the past ten years.
Tables 3.16 and 3.17 summarize the perceived trends and
accompanying rationale.


3.10.1. Trends in production
Low yields, abiotic stresses, low prices, and marketing
were prominent factors in decisions to decrease the maize
area. Also important were agroecological suitability and
the economic benefits of cultivating maize relative to other
crops. Farmers in the Southwest rainfed spring system
agreed that in the past ten years the share of maize area
planted to local varieties and OPVs had decreased due to
their negative traits, particularly low yields and lodging.
The fall season maize area in the Southwest also
decreased, due to drought and because other crops are
more profitable. Since winter maize competes with many
other vegetable crops, its area has also declined, largely
due to competition for land.


3.10.2. Trends in utilization
Utilization trends over the last ten years described by
farmer groups confirm the decline in the consumption of
maize as food. The association of maize with a lower
standard of living and a preference for rice and wheat as
primary staple foods was evident from the explanations
provided by farmers. The use of maize as feed increased
among farmers across almost all surveyed villages due to
increased animal production and maize availability.





























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Table 3.11. Maize costs (yuan/ha) of production in surveyed provinces, 1999-2001.


1999 2000 2001 Average

Materials Labor Labor Total Materials Labor Labor Total Materials Labor Labor Total Materials Labor Labor Total
cost cost days cost cost cost days cost cost cost days cost cost cost days cost

China 2171 1886 193 4056 2072 1860 186 3932 2054 1916 186 3970 2099 1887 188 3986
Guangxi 2296 2000 192 4296 2322 2048 195 4370 2308 2048 195 4356 2309 2032 194 4340
Sichuan 1796 3524 344 5320 1580 3387 317 4967 1516 3532 327 5048 1631 3481 329 5112
Shaanxi 1623 1506 198 3129 1441 1890 225 3331 1532 1874 213 3406 1532 1757 212 3289
Shanxi 2107 1368 195 3476 1986 1342 189 3328 1919 1406 188 3326 2004 1372 191 3376
Jilin 2467 1563 142 4030 2387 1419 129 3806 2162 1148 131 3310 2339 1377 134 3715
Shandong 1862 1615 174 3478 1782 1544 158 3326 1765 1545 152 3310 1803 1568 161 3371

Real prices (base year = 2000).

Source: National Agricultural Production Cost and Revenue Information Summary (Quanguo Nongchanpin Chengben Shouyi Ziliao Huibian). The Development and Reform Committee, China. 1999-2001.


Table 3.12. Main sources of technology information in surveyed villages.

Government extension
and agricultural Seed Agricultural Private Neighbors/
input companies company universities traders Other farmers TV/ Radio Other

Northeast Spring rainfed 20 0 0 0 65 15 0
North Spring irrigated 30 0 0 0 50 10 10
Spring rainfed 48 0 0 4 16 32 0
Yellow-Huai Summer irrigated 58 2 2 1 27 11 0
River Valley Summer rainfed 35 0 0 0 48 18 0
Northwest Spring irrigated 30 0 0 10 10 50 0
Spring rainfed 50 3 0 8 10 27 2
Southwest Spring irrigated 87 3 0 0 3 2 5
Spring rainfed (all) 63 9 1 2 10 9 6
Spring rainfed only 76 1 1 3 11 7 3
Spring/fall;
Spring/winter, spring/
fall/winter rainfed 49 19 1 2 8 11 10

Source: IFAD-CIMMYT-CCAP RRA/PRA Surveys, 2001-2002.
















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Table 3.14. Main reasons for yield gap in surveyed villages.

Agroecological region Maize system Reasons for yield gap Agroecological region Maize system Reasons for yield gap
Northeast Rainfed spring Difference in soil fertility Southwest Rainfed summer Difference in soil fertility
Different maize variety Low fertilizer investment
Low fertilizer investment Fertilizer not applied on time
North Irrigated spring Difference in soil fertility Inability to weed on time
Low chemical and organic fertilizer Inability to thin seedlings on time
investment Irrigated spring Low fertilizer investment
Inability to weed on time Different maize variety
Rainfed spring Difference in soil fertility Fertilizer not applied on time
Low fertilizer investment Inability to weed on time
Inability to weed on time Rainfed spring Difference in soil fertility
Fertilizer not applied on time (one season maize) Low fertilizer investment
Northwest Irrigated spring Low fertilizer investment Fertilizer not applied on time
Inability to irrigate on time Inability to weed on time
Difference in soil fertility Rainfed spring/fall Maize disease nd insects
Rainfed spring Low fertilizer investment Ferti izer not applied on time
Fertilizer not applied on time
Difference in soil fertility
IInability to weed on time
Inability to weed on time
Inability to eed on time Inability to thin seedlings on time
Inability to thin seedlings on time Ini o t eeli t
Yellow-Huai River Valley Irrigated summer Low fertilizer investment Difference in soil fertility
Low pesticide investment Rainfed spring/winter Low fertilizer investment
Inability to irrigate on time No use of plastic
Inability to weed on time Fertilizer not applied on time
Labor shortage Inability to weed on time
Rainfed summer Low fertilizer investment Inability to thin seedlings on time
Inability to weed on time Difference in soil fertility
Low seed quality
Fertilizer not applied on time
Low pesticide investment

Source: IFAD-CIMMYT (-CAP RRA/PRA Surveys, 2001-2002.


Table 3.15. Post harvest practices in surveyed villages.
Agroecological Maize production Grain storage Seed storage Milling Milling
region system Drying Shelling method method method location
Northeast Rainfed spring Air dried in piles Machine Bags, storehouse, No Electric mill Own village
in household piles outside home
North Irrigated spring Sun dried in household, Hand powered Bags, urn, piles No Electric mill Own village
dried on wooden shelves machine, by outside home
hand with stick
Rainfed spring Sun dried in household, Mostly machine, Bags, wooden box, Hung in Electric mill Own village
dried on wooden shelves by hand hanging outside house household
Northwest Irrigated spring Sun dried in household, Machine Bags Hung in Electric mill Own village
dried on wooden shelves household
Rainfed spring Sun dried in household, Machine Bags, wooden Hung in Electric mill Own village,
dried on wooden shelves box/cupboard household neighboring village
Yellow-Huai Irrigated summer Sun dried on rooftop or Machine Bags, urn No Electric mill Household, own village,
River Valley on ground in household neighboring village
Rainfed summer Sun dried on rooftop or on Machine, by hand Bags, water urn, in No Electric mill Own village,
ground in household piles on cement floor neighboring village
Southwest Rainfed summer Sun and air dried By hand Bags, water urn, Hung in Electric mill Own village
wooden box/cupboard household
Irrigated spring Sun dried By hand Water urn Dried, shelled, Electric mill Household, own village
and stored in
closed container
Rainfed spring Sun dried in household, Mainly by hand, Water urn, wooden box/ Hung in household; Electric mills of Household,
(one season) dried on wooden shelves some machine cupboard, metal box, dried, shelled and varying sizes own village
scattered in piles stored in closed
container
Source: IFAD-CIMMYT (-CCAP RRA/PRA Surveys, 2001-2002.









Table 3.16. Trends in maize area and yields in the last ten years.

Agroecological Surveyed Surveyed Maize
region Maize system villages (No.) Maize area Rationale villages (No.) yields Rationale

Northeast Rainfed spring 1 increasing good yields, available market 3 increasing good varieties, improved management
2 decreasing low maize prices, drought
1 unchanged good yields 1 unchanged drought
North Irrigated spring 3 decreasing drought, low yields, low price, difficult 1 increasing
to sell, increased sorghum area
2 decreasing drought
Rainfed spring 5 increasing good yields, good profit, 4 increasing good varieties, more fertilizer use,
available market use of plastic, irrigation
Northwest Irrigated spring 2 increasing good yield, available market, 2 increasing good varieties, more fertilizer use,
suitable crop for agroclimate use of treated seed
Rainfed spring 3 increasing good varieties, more fertilizer use
4 decreasing low price, increased cash crops 1 decreasing drought
area (apple and tobacco)
Yellow-Huai Irrigated summer 2 increasing stable production, low labor requirements, 5 increasing good varieties, more fertilizer and pesticide
River Valley decreased tobacco area use, irrigation, fertilizer and irrigation
applied on time
3 decreasing low price, increased cash crops
area (cotton), high input costs
1 unchanged traditional area 1 unchanged yield limit reached
Rainfed spring 1 decreasing drought, low price 2 increasing good varieties, more fertilizer and pesticide
/summer used, high investment in inputs
Southwest Rainfed summer 1 increasing decreased rice area due 1 increasing good varieties, good technology
to water shortage
1 decreasing drought 1 decreasing pest problems
Irrigated spring 1 increasing good yield, increase in pigs, 2 increasing good varieties, more fertilizer use, use of
better crop in drought and flood plastic and transplanted seedlings
1 decreasing improvements in land (leveling) 1 unchanged
make rice cultivation possible
1 unchanged maize suitable for agroclimate
Rainfed spring 2 increasing good yields, increase in pigs, decrease in 11 increasing
(all sites) cotton area, unstable hot pepper price
7 decreasing reforestation program, increase in cash 1 unchanged
crop area (sugarcane and mulberry trees),
water now available for rice paddy
1 unchanged maize suitable for agroclimate, cannot
plant other crops in land
Rainfed spring 2 increasing good yield, increase in pigs, 7 increasing increased fertilizer use, use of plastic,
(one season) decreased cotton area improved management, better varieties
7 decreasing reforestation program, increase in cash crop
area (sugarcane and mulberry trees),
water now available for rice paddy
1 unchanged suitable for agroclimate 1 unchanged
Rainfed spring/fall 4 decreasing increased sugarcane area 2 increasing increased fertilizer use, increased seeding
rate, better varieties
Rainfed spring/winter 1 decreasing 2 increasing increased fertilizer use
3 unchanged can't plant other crops


Source:IFAD-CIMMYT-CCAP RRA/PRA surveys, 2001-2002.










Table 3.17. Trends in utilization of maize in the last ten years.

Agroecological Surveyed Maize Surveyed Maize
region Maize system villages (No.) as food Rationale villages (No.) as feed Rationale

Northeast Rainfed spring 3 decreasing improved living standards, 4 increasing increased pig and
increased demand for rice and livestock production
wheat, not good to eat
North Irrigated spring 3 decreasing improved living standards, 2 increasing increased animal production
increased demand for rice
and wheat
1 decreasing
Rainfed spring 4 decreasing improved living standards, 4 increasing increased livetock production
increased demand for rice
and wheat, not good to eat
Northwest Irrigated spring 2 decreasing improved living standards, 2 increasing increased livestock,
increased demand for rice and wheat maize difficult to sell
Rainfed spring 4 decreasing improved living standards, 3 increasing increased livestock,
increased demand for rice and wheat maize difficult to sell
1 decreasing
Yellow-Huai Irrigated summer 1 increasing increased maize area, 6 increasing increased livestock,
River Valley children like to eat more maize produced
4 decreasing improved living standards, increased
demand for rice and wheat
Rainfed spring 2 decreasing increased demand for wheat, 2 increasing increased livestock production
/summer not good to eat
Southwest Rainfed summer 2 decreasing improved living standards, increased
demand for rice and wheat 2 increasing good yields
Irrigated spring 3 decreasing improved living standards,
increased demand for rice and wheat 3 increasing increased pig production
Rainfed spring 18 decreasing 13 increasing
(all sites)

1 unchanged 2 decreasing
Increase first, 1 increase first,
then decrease then decrease
Rainfed spring 9 decreasing improved living standards, 6 increasing increased pig and livestock
(one season) increased demand for rice, not production
good to eat, fed to pigs
1 unchanged 1 decreasing use less maize in feed mix
1 increase first, pig prices up then down
then decrease
Rainfed spring/fall 5 decreasing increased demand for rice, 3 increasing increased pig and livestock
maize used for livestock production, good maize yields
1 decreasing use purchased feed
1 increase first,
then decrease
Rainfed spring/winter 4 decreasing improved living standards, 4 increasing increased pig production
increased demand for rice, not
good to eat, fed to pigs
1 unchanged

Source:IFAD-CIMMYT (-CCAP RRA/PRA surveys, 2001-2002.










4. Maize Production Constraints


An important part of the interaction with farmer
groups was discussing the constraints they
experienced in all aspects of maize production.
Farmers were asked to list the constraints and estimate
yield losses from each constraint as well as the
percentage of maize area in the village that was
affected. Farmer-elicited constraints for maize
production are summarized in Table 4.1.



4.1. Abiotic Constraints

Farmers consistently singled out drought as the key
abiotic constraint to maize production in all regions
and maize systems with the exception of the Yellow-
Huai River Valley irrigated summer maize system,
Northwest irrigated spring maize system, and
Southwest irrigated spring maize system. Drought was
nevertheless a concern even in primarily irrigated
systems due to periodic uncertainty regarding water
availability and timing of availability. Farmers in most
groups perceived a worsening trend in drought and its
impacts on maize yields. The worsening trend for
early frost is also a concern in the Northeast, as well as
the North and Northwest rainfed spring maize
systems, because it affects the timing of planting.
Surface waterlogging that often had negative effects on
yields was reported in the Yellow-Huai River Valley
irrigated summer maize system. Farmers in the
Southwest region identified floods, soil erosion, and
soil infertility as having considerable negative impacts
on maize productivity.



4.2. Biotic Constraints
4.2.1. Major field diseases and insects
Farmers identified a wide range of field insect pests,
including corn borer, cutworm, and corn leaf aphid,
which were common across all the maize
agroecological regions. Problems with other insects
such as mole cricket, wireworm, armyworm, and red
spiders varied across maize systems. Caterpillars,
grasshoppers, and weevils were particularly
damaging in the Southwest region.


Diseases identified by farmers included head smut -
particularly in the North, Northwest, and Northeast-
and Turcicum leaf blight, banded leaf and sheath
blight, and Maydis leaf blight in the Southwest.
Sugarcane mosaic virus and maize rough dwarf virus
were the diseases of greatest concern to farmers in the
Yellow-Huai River Valley.



4.2.2. Major storage insects and problems
Grain weevils and rodents were the primary cause of
post harvest storage losses across all maize
agroecological regions. Farmers in the Southwest
rainfed spring / fall / winter maize systems also
described storage problems caused by moths, although
there was no mention of moth larvae. Problems with
stored maize grain and maize seed in the Southwest
region were worse than in other regions due to
climatic conditions, and estimated post harvest losses
there were considerably higher than in any other
surveyed region.



4.3. Institutional and Economic
Constraints

4.3.1. Inputs
Serious concern due to the quality of inputs was raised
by farmers in all maize regions. Low-quality seed and
questionable purity of purchased seed were the most
frequently cited problems. Also common across
regions were the sale of fake fertilizer and pesticides,
as well as the inability of farmers to detect them.
Farmers in the Southwest rainfed spring / fall / winter
maize systems and the Northeast rainfed spring region
also had trouble finding seed of desired varieties. In
the Southwest, these difficulties were compounded in
some areas by the existence of few outlets for seed
purchase and the limited period of time seed was
available. In the Northeast, the supply of seed of
certain varieties was insufficient to meet the demand.










Table 4.1. Farmer-elicited maize production constraints.
Maize agroecological region Abiotic constraints Biotic constraints Technology Markets and infrastructure
Northeast
Rainfed spring drought dead smut poor knowledge of cultivation low maize price
soil erosion corn borer techniques and crop management maize marketing difficulties -
dry and hot wind cutworm few sales outlets
hail sugarcane mosaic virus lack of technology high fertilizer price
sandstorm maize rough dwarf virus dissemination system fake fertilizer
frost common smut poor grain quality seed of some varieties
white grubs lodging in short supply
STurcicum leaf blight poor quality of seed (e.g., low unstable seed price
stalk rot germination)
Fusarium moniliforme
rodents
grain weevils

North
Rainfed spring drought head smut poor quality of seed fake pesticide, seed, and
low soil fertility corn borer poor knowledge of cultivation fertilizer
soil erosion red spider mite techniques and crop management lack of market information
dry and hot wind common smut lodging (e.g., maize prices)
frost aphid unstable maize price
sugarcane mosaic virus limited marketing opportunities
maize rough dwarf virus
*stalk rot
ear roto
STurcicum leaf blight
cutworm
wireworm
rodents
grain weevils
mole cricket
Irrigated spring drought head smut Poor knowledge of cultivation fake pesticide, seed, and fertilizer
low soil fertility red spider mit techniques and crop management lack of market information
hail stalk rot poor quality of seed unstable maize price
high wind common smut lodging
frost *corn borer
flood sugarcane mosaic virus
STurcicum leaf blight
maize rough dwarf virus
ear rot
cutworm
mole cricket
wireworm
grain weevils
rodents
Yellow-Huai River Valley
Rainfed spring low soil fertility corn borer poor knowledge of cultivation lack of technology


* drought
* hail
* strong wind


* low soil fertility
* drought
* strong wind
* hail
* high temperature


* cutworm


* techniques and crop managementom dissemination system
* poor quality of seed unstable maize price
* low farm mechanization high production costs
unstable seed price


fake fertilizer and pesticide
unstable fertilizer price
STurcicum leaf blight poor knowledge of cultivation lack of technology
* corn borer techniques and crop management dissemination system
* stalk rot poor quality of seed unstable maize price
* sugarcane mosaic virus low mechanization level high production costs
* bollworm lack of knowledge about pesticide fake fertilizer and pesticide
* aphid unstable fertilizer price
* red spider mite
* army worm
* maize rough dwarf virus
* cutworm
*southern rust


Rainfed summer










Table 4.1. Cont'd...
Maize agroecological region Abiotic constraints Biotic constraints Technology Markets and infrastructure
North
smut, grain weevils machinery shortages in busy season
mole cricket high cost of machinery rental
rodents unstable seed price
wheel rot

Irrigated summer drought Turcium leaf blight poor knowledge of cultivation lack of technology
low soil fertility corn borer techniques and crop management dissemination system
Strong wind stalk rot poor quality of seed unstable maize price
water logging maize rough dwarf virus inadequate information on high production costs
hail sugarcane mosaic virus pesticide usage insufficient electricity supply
high temperature at flowering bollworm outdated machinery unstable fertilizer price
rapidly decreasing water table army worm unstable seed price
common smut fake fertilizer
cutworms machinery shortages in
aphid busy season
mole cricket
red spider
southern rust
grain weevils
powdery mildew
rodents
Northwest
Rainfed spring drought head smut poor knowledge of cultivation high fertilizer and pesticide price
low soil fertility red spider techniques and crop management fake fertilizer, seed,
Ssoil erosion common smut lack of suitable new varieties and pesticide
frost cutworm poor quality of seed (e.g., insect low maize price
hail sugarcane mosaic virus infestations in purchased seed) low purchasing power fo
aphid lodging purchased good
Smaize rough dwarf virus current varieties not suitable shortage of animals during
grain weevils for silage busy season
rodents

Irrigated spring high wind head smut lack of technology for fake fertilizer, pesticide, and seed
low soil fertility red spider economical/efficient water use
frost sugarcane mosaic virus lodging
hail smut
*aphid
cutworm
maize rough dwarf virus
ear rot
STurcicum and maydis leaf blight
rodents
grain weevils
Southwest
Irrigated spring high wind corn borer lack of desirable varieties difficulties selling maize
soil erosion corn leaf aphid low quality fertilizer
cutworm fake fertilizer and pesticides
STurcicum leaf blight high cost for shelling machine
rodents high maize production costs
grain weevils


* drought
* low soil fertility
* strong wind
* soil erosion
Flood
* lack of microelements in
* soil (such as Cu, Zn)
* hail


* banded leaf and sheath blight cultivated varieties susceptible


* corn borer
* Turcicum and Maydis
leaf blight
* ear rot
* cutworn
* southern rust
* army worm


to insects and diseases
* poor grain quality
* low seed germination rate
* poor fertilizer quality
* lack of suitable production
technology
* OPV degradation


* low level of investment in inputs
* low purchasing power for
purchased goods
* problems with maize marketing
* lack of well functioning
dissemination system
* low maize price
* high seed cost


Rainfed spring









Table 4.1. Cont'd...

Maize agroecological region Abiotic constraints Biotic constraints Technology Markets and infrastructure

Southwest

stalk rot lack of machinery suitable for low per capital land -scale of
aphid hillside plots production too small
head smut lack of knowledge to distinguish the poor road network
corn silkworm quality of fertilizer and pesticides labor shortages
locust lodging fake seed and pesticide
weevils lack of desirable varieties high cost for shelling machine
rodents few outlets to purchase seed
storage moths limited time period to purchase seed
o high deposit required for seed
purchase

Rainfed summer drought corn borer cultivated varieties susceptible to problems with maize marketing
low soil fertility banded leaf and insects and diseasesos -few sales outlets
soil erosion sheath blight lack of suitable production low level of investment in inputs
strong wind Maydis leaf disease technology lack of well functioning
flood ear rot poor grain qualitY dissemination system
hail army worm *varieties are sensitive to high poor transportation infrastructure
stalk rot temperature poor seed purity
STurcicum leaf blight lack of early varieties small production scale (low per
southern rust lack of suitable new varieties capital land)
corn silkworm poor seed quality high fertilizer price relative
cutworm varieties not suitable to high to maize price
locust density planting high seed price
grain weevils lack of suitable machinery labor shortage during busy seasons
rodents for hillside plots fake pesticide and seed
storage moths lack of knowledge to distinguish shortage of animal traction
the quality of fertilizer and pesticides due to lack of grass

Rainfed fall drought Maydis leaf blight poor grain quality of low level of investment in inputs
low soil fertility corn borer lack of suitable production problems with maize marketing-
soil erosion banded leaf and technology few sales outlets
low temperatures sheath blight OPV degradation difficulties in purchasing hybrid seed
flood southern rust lack of early varieties few outlets for seed purchase
grain weevils varieties not suitable to high difficulties in purchasing fertilizer
army worm density planting and pesticide
corn silkworm low germination rate of seed lack of well functioning
caterpillar dissemination system
poor seed purity
poor transportation infrastructure
low maize price
*small production scale
(low per capital land)
poor quality of fertilizer available
labor shortage during busy seasons
high cost for shelling machine

Source:IFAD-CIMMYT- (CAP RRA/PRA surveys, 2001-2002.









Labor shortages during busy seasons posed
constraints in the Southwest, while machinery
bottlenecks contributed to delays in cropping
activities in the Yellow-Huai River Valley irrigated
summer maize system. The shortage of draft animals
had the same effect in the Northwest and Southwest
spring rainfed maize systems. Farmers in the Yellow-
Huai River Valley who planted irrigated summer
maize also expressed concern with the rapidly
decreasing water table.

High seed costs were mentioned only in the rainfed
spring maize systems in the Southwest and North
regions. The relative absence of farmer-perceived
problems with seed costs may reflect the fact that
prices of hybrid maize seed in China are among the
lowest in the world (Huang and Rozelle 2006).
However, both the instability of seed prices, raised as a
concern in the Northeast and Yellow-Huai River
regions, and the price of seed and other inputs relative
to the maize price, were issues of major concern to
maize farmers.



4.3.2. Technology

Access to technology per se was not raised as a
constraint to maize production in the Northeast or
Yellow-Huai River Valley regions; however, farmers
felt that access to information on improving crop
management practices and maize productivity was
lacking. Farmers in some of the surveyed North region
rainfed spring maize areas also had infrequent access
to technical experts who could demonstrate and
provide information on new technologies. Concerns
with technology access and the existence of suitable
technologies were also frequently raised by farmers in
the rainfed maize areas of the Southwest. Fewer seed
companies are active in the Southwest than in other
regions, and many of them are still relatively small and
new within the context of the seed system that is now
emerging as a result of recent policy changes.


Farmers recognized that currently cultivated OPVs
had degenerated, but they did not have viable
replacements. Similarly, new varieties suitable to
replace currently sown local varieties in hilly and
mountainous plots were also unavailable. As breeding
priorities in China have been focused almost
exclusively on hybrid varieties, resources allocated to
the development of OPVs have been minimal.



4.3.3. Markets
Low, unstable maize prices were cited universally by
farmers as an issue of great concern; however, the
relative importance of marketing constraints depended
largely on farmers' participation in maize markets. The
primary concern of farmers in the Northeast was the
limited number of outlets where they could sell their
maize. Farmers in the Northwest and North rainfed
spring maize systems also experienced limited maize
marketing opportunities, which they attributed to
restrictions imposed by government grain stations
trying to control the activities of private traders.
Farmers in some rainfed spring maize areas of the
Southwest felt their marketing opportunities were
limited by poor roads and infrastructure that
prevented access to traders.










5. Priorities for Maize Research


5.1. Methodology for Research
Prioritization
Research priorities may vary considerably depending
on factors taken into consideration in shaping the
prioritization process. The decision to incorporate
information on certain factors and not others is a de
facto assignment of weights. Weights play a significant
determining role in the resulting ordering of priorities,
and a shifting of weighting factors can dramatically
alter an outcome (Pingali and Pandey 2001). The
methodology utilized for the prioritization of maize
research in China considers four separate means of
assigning weights based on efficiency, poverty status,
degree of marginality, and degree of maize
substitutability A weighted combination consisting of
efficiency, poverty status, and marginality was also
calculated using weights of 0.5, 0.3, and 0.2,
respectively. In all cases the underlying foundation of
the process remains the constraints identified and
prioritized by farmers and scientists.

Five main factors determine the outcome of efficiency-
based prioritization:

(1) farmer-scientist ranking of the importance of the
constraint;
(2) yield gain associated with alleviation of the
constraint;
(3) the probability that a solution to the constraint will
succeed;
(4) the contribution of the maize system to national
maize production; and
(5) the history of adoption of new technologies in the
maize system or region.
Taking all factors into consideration, an efficiency
index is calculated for each constraint and ordered by
value. Constraints with the highest efficiency indices
are prioritized.

The poverty-based prioritization of maize research
utilizes a poverty-index weighting of the efficiency
index to give more emphasis to problems experienced
in areas with higher incidence of poverty. The poverty
weights used reflect the share of rural poor population
out of the total rural population for each maize
agroecological region.


Marginality-based prioritization assumes a correlation
between low maize yields and marginal status in the
country, possibly resulting from limited access to
technological information and poor infrastructure. It
also identifies maize systems that are less served by
private maize companies and require higher investment
by the public research system. The marginality factor
used to weight the efficiency index is the inverse of the
average maize yield in the maize system.

A weighting factor based on the level of maize
substitutability makes the assumption that the larger
the share of maize area out of total crop cultivated area
over a period of time, the more important the role of
maize in the cropping system and the less likely it can
or will be replaced by other crop alternatives.



5.2. Farmer-Scientist Constraint
Prioritization
Constraints to maize production across the five maize
agroecological regions and within maize systems in each
region were discussed and prioritized in a two-day
workshop attended by 45 maize scientists from both the
public and private sectors. This included the Chinese
Academy of Agricultural Sciences and its provincial
branches in major maize producing provinces, Chinese
Agricultural University, and other stakeholders in the
maize research and production system. Information
collected from farmers on maize production constraints
as well as farmer estimates of yield and affected area
were presented to the group for discussion. Based on
their individual expertise and experience, workshop
participants were assigned to one of five groups, each
representing an agroecological region.

A key task for each group was to discuss and evaluate
the constraints and yield losses elicited from farmers
within the context of broader biophysical and
institutional conditions of the maize systems) and
agroecological region. Another important objective of
each group was to identify constraints that could be
addressed through agricultural research and technology
and to estimate the potential yield gains in the maize
system from addressing the constraint. Each group
reached a consensus on the priority ranking of each
constraint by maize system based on both farmer and
scientist assessment of its severity. They also estimated










the maize area in the region affected by the constraint;
the potential yield gain if the problem was addressed
with available or achievable technology; and the
likelihood of attaining that yield gain. The results of the


ten highest-priority constraints in each maize system,
as determined by farmers and maize scientists, are
presented in Table 5.1.


Table 5.1. Top ten maize production constraints prioritized by farmer groups and scientists.

Rainfed Irrigated
Potential yield Likelihood of Potential yield Likelihood
Regions Rank Constraints gain (%) success (%) Constraints gain (%) of success (%)


1 Drought
2 Poor knowledge/use of appropriate
agronomic methods and crop management
3 Poor nutritional content and
grain quality of current varieties
4 Ineffective agricultural extension (lack of funds)
5 Corn borer
Head smut
6 Disarray of seed markets
7 Low germination rate of certain varieties
8 Stalk rot
9 Lodging
10 Frost


North
Spring maize 1 Drought
2 Head smut
3 Poor seed quality (e.g., germination
rate and production quality)

4 Poor knowledge/use of appropriate
agronomic methods and crop management
5 Corn borer
6 Low soil fertility and soil erosion
7 Smut
8 Red spider mite
9 Corn leaf aphid
10 Sugarcane mosaic virus
Northwest
Spring maize 1 Drought
2 Poor knowledge/use of appropriate agronomic
methods and crop management
3 Low soil fertility and soil erosion


4 Low rate of variety replacement
5 head smut
6 Low farm level investment in
maize production
7 Red spider


8 Smut
9 Low seed quality
10 Frost

Yellow-Huai River Valley
Spring maize 1 Drought
2 Poor knowledge/use of appropriate agronomic
methods and crop management
3 Low / decreasing soil fertility
4 Poor seed quality
5 Turcicum and Maydis leaf blights
6 Stalk rot


35 Drought
90 Head smut
98 Poor knowledge/use of
appropriate agronomic
methods and crop management
25 Low/decreasing soil fertility


Poor seed quality
Stalk rot
Red spider mite
Corn leaf aphid
Common smut
Sugarcane mosaic virus


10 Drought
50 Low rate of variety replacement

5 Poor knowledge/use of
appropriate agronomic methods
and crop management
45 Head smut
90 Low / decreasing soil fertility
10 Low farm level investment
in maize production
75 Lack of water-saving
irrigation technology
70 Red spider
98 Sugarcane mosaic virus
15 Poor seed quality
Common smut


Northeast
Spring maize










Table 5.1. cont'd...

Rainfed Irrigated
Potential yield Likelihood of Potential yield Likelihood
Regions Rank Constraints gain (%) success (%) Constraints gain (%) of success (%)


7 Corn borer
8 Cutworm
9 Lack of appropriate machinery
10 Common smut
Yellow-Huai River Valley
Summer maize 1 Drought
2 Poor knowledge/use of


Southwest
Spring maize


appropriate agronomic methods
and crop management
3 Low / decreasing soil fertility
4 poor seed quality
5 Turcicum and Maydis leaf blights
6 Stalk rot
7 Corn borer
8 Lack of appropriate machinery
9 High winds
10 Sugarcane mosaic virus

1 Drought
2 Low / decreasing soil fertility
3 Low farm level investment in inputs
4 Poor maize nutritional and grain quality
5 Limited maize marketing opportunities
due to undeveloped markets
6 banded leaf and sheath blight
7 Overall level of insect and disease
susceptibility in cultivated varieties
8 Difficulties in purchasing seed for desired varieties
(very few available outlets)
9 Lack of planting technology
10 Lack of information about new varieties


Southwest
Summer maize 1 Low/ decreasing soil fertility
2 Low farm level investment in inputs
3 Drought
4 Overall level of insect and disease
susceptibility in cultivated varieties
5 Limited maize marketing opportunities
due to undeveloped markets
6 Ineffective agricultural extension (lack of funds)
7 banded leaf and sheath blight
8 Corn borer
9 Poor maize nutritional and grain quality
10 Poor transportation infrastructure


20 Drought
30 Poor knowledge/use of
appropriate agronomic methods
and crop management
50 Low / decreasing soil fertility
90 Turcicum and Maydis leaf blight
80 Low level of mechanization
60 Poor quality seed
60 Corn borer
30 High winds
20 Stalk rot
60 Maize rough dwarf virus


1 Drought
2 Low farm level investment in inputs
3 Low / decreasing soil fertility
4 Poor maize nutritional and grain quality
5 Limited maize marketing opportunities
due to undeveloped markets
6 Difficulties in purchasing seed for desired varieties
(very few available outlets)
7 Poor knowledge/use of appropriate agronomic
methods and crop management
8 Fake and low quality seed
9 Turcicum leaf blight
10 Poor transportation infrastructure


Note: Ranked in order of importance within a given maize production system.


Southwest
Fall maize









Drought was considered a priority constraint to maize
production in each maize system across the five
agroecological regions. However, the manner in which
drought affects yield may differ by maize system and
region, e.g., spring drought delays sowing in the
Northeast, while summer drought reduces yields in other
regions. Yield gains that could potentially result from
new technologies targeting drought were estimated at
2i to 35% across the different systems; however, the
likelihood of success across systems varied more widely.

Other priority constraints differed largely by region.
Poor knowledge of appropriate crop management
practices was a highly prioritized constraint in the
Northeast, Yellow-Huai River Valley and Northwest
regions. The poor grain quality and nutritional content
of current varieties in the Northeast reflect their low
starch content and high grain moisture content at
harvest. This is especially true of the full-season hybrids
that were promoted under the centrally planned
economic system. The development of those varieties,
many of which are still sown, reflected the predominant
emphasis on yield alone. Head smut and low/
decreasing soil fertility were identified as major
constraints in the North and Southwest regions. Low
levels of input use in maize production also ranked
highly in the rainfed systems of the Southwest.


In estimating the likelihood of success when
addressing the negative yield impacts of the identified
constraints, scientists in the working groups were
considerably more optimistic about achieving potential
yield gains by addressing disease and insect constraints
than by improving technology and information
dissemination and addressing the impacts of drought
through research and technology. They felt success in
addressing the two latter constraints was very much a
function of the specific maize system. Raising yields by
improving soil fertility and increasing the investment
in maize production inputs in the Southwest were
considered much more difficult, given the role of local
economic and environmental conditions and the
relative inability to influence them through research
and technology.



5.3. National Research Priorities
Twenty-five top priority constraints were identified at
the national level based on the four alternative
weighting indices (Table 5.2). Except for drought and
low soil fertility in the irrigated summer maize system
of the Yellow-Huai River Valley, all priority
constraints identified using the efficiency index had to


Table 5.2. Top 25 constraints to maize production.
Priority rank
Agroecological Maize production
region system Constraints Efficiency Poverty Marginality Substitutability
Northeast Rainfed Spring Poor knowledge/use of appropriate agronomic 1 1 1 1
methods and crop management
Northeast Rainfed Spring Head smut 2 2 2 2
Northeast Rainfed Spring Drought 3 3 3 3
Northeast Rainfed Spring Ineffective agricultural extension(lack of funds) 4 4 4 4
Northeast Rainfed Spring Corn borer 5 5 5 5
Northeast Rainfed Spring Poor nutritional content and grain quality of current varieties 6 6 6 6
Northeast Rainfed Spring Seed markets in disarray 7 7 7 7
Northeast Rainfed Spring Low germination rate of certain varieties 8 8 8 8
Northeast Rainfed Spring Stalk rot 9 9 9 9
Northeast Rainfed Spring Lodging 10 10 10 10
Northeast Rainfed Spring Frost 11 11 12 11
Northeast Rainfed Spring Soil insects (cut worm, mole cricket) 12 12 13 12
Northeast Rainfed Spring Army worm 13 13 14 13
Northeast Rainfed Spring Sugarcane mosaic virus 14 14 16 14
Northeast Rainfed Spring Maize rough dwarf virus 15 15 17 15
Northeast Rainfed Spring Grey blight 16 16 18 16
Northeast Rainfed Spring Turcicum blight/Maydis disease 17 17 19 17
Northeast Rainfed Spring Ear rot 18 18 22 18
Northeast Rainfed Spring Fake and low quality fertilizer and pesticides 19 19 23 19
Northeast Rainfed Spring Field rodents 20 20 24 20
Northeast Rainfed Spring Grain weevils(Corn earworms) 21 21 25 21
Yellow-Huai River Valley Irrigated Summer Drought 22 11
Northeast Rainfed Spring Soil erosion 23 22 22
Northeast Rainfed Spring Storage rodents 24 23 23
Yellow-Huai River Valley Irrigated Summer Low/decreasing soil fertility 25 15
Northeast Rainfed Spring Extreme heat and low humidity 24 24
Northeast Rainfed Spring Hail 25 25
Yellow-Huai River Valley Irrigated Summer Poor knowledge /use of appropriate agronomic
methods and crop management 20
Yellow-Huai River Valley Irrigated Summer Lack of appropriate machinery 21









do with issues in the Northeast rainfed spring maize
system. Addressing poor knowledge of appropriate
crop management practices was the top national
priority, with head smut and drought ranked second
and third. Differences between final prioritization and
farmer-scientist ranking of constraints in the Northeast
rainfed spring maize system resulted from weighting
factors in the efficiency index, particularly potential
yield gain and likelihood of success.

The top 25 priority constraints resulting from national
prioritization based on the poverty index target the
Northeast rainfed spring maize system exclusively.
Similarly, the top 25 priority constraints using the
marginality index and those obtained using the
substitutability index reflected and reinforced the
results of the efficiency index.

The results reflect the importance at the national level
of the Northeast rainfed spring maize system in terms
of maize area and maize production. Based on the
efficiency considerations of achieving the greatest and
fastest impact on maize production, the focus on
priority constraints in this system certainly makes
sense. In terms of focusing research priorities on
systems that are heavily dependent on maize
production and have few alternative crops and
cropping patterns, targeting the Northeast rainfed
spring maize system is also logical. Moreover,
although poverty in the Northeast region is not
particularly visible compared with other parts of the
country, there are nevertheless several counties with an
annual per capital income below 1,500 yuan (US$ 182 at
the official exchange in 2001 and 2002). Farmers in this
region are also more dependent on maize as a source
of income than in other regions.

Although we recognized the logic of including maize
production as a weighting factor in setting national
maize research priorities, since maize production in the
Northeast region was quite large relative to other
regions and systems, we did a similar prioritization
exercise using indices that were not weighted by maize
production. Results of that exercise are presented in
Table 5.3.

The top national priority based on the efficiency index
unweighted by maize production was head smut in
the North rainfed spring maize system, followed by
improvement of crop management practices in the
Northeast spring maize system. Head smut and
drought (present throughout the North and Northeast
regions) were also included as top priorities.
Prioritizing research based on poverty would focus
efforts primarily on improving crop management
practices, developing drought tolerant and disease
resistant varieties, and increasing input use in the
Northwest rainfed and irrigated spring maize systems.


Results based on the marginality index unweighted by
maize production primarily target drought, soil fertility
problems, technology dissemination, and institutional and
economic constraints in the rainfed fall, spring, and
summer maize systems of the Southwest. Finally,
prioritizing research efforts based on the importance of
maize in the cropping system would continue to focus
research on constraints to production primarily in the
Northeast spring rainfed system, even without utilizing a
production-weighted index. However, unlike the first set of
substitutability index-based results, head smut and
drought in the North rainfed spring maize system are also
included among the priorities.

Research priorities based on the first set of four maize
production-weighted indices predominantly targeted
production constraints that can be addressed through new
technologies or improved dissemination of existing
technologies. The exceptions included improving seed
markets and eliminating fake inputs from the market, both
of which require market-oriented regulations. Similarly,
constraints that could be mitigated with technical solutions
were the top priorities according to the efficiency- and
substitutability-based indices not weighted by maize
production. Interestingly the priorities resulting from the
poverty- and marginality-based indices included policy-
related economic, institutional, and infrastructural
constraints that require attention outside the maize
research and production community.



5.4. Regional Maize System Research
Priorities

Similar priority-setting exercise was carried out for each
maize production system using an efficiency-based
approach weighted by farmer-scientist rankings, potential
yield gain, and likelihood of success. Since maize
production was constant across the maize system, the
efficiency index was not weighted by production. The top
10 priorities for each maize system are shown in Table 5.4.

Each maize system is affected by its own unique combination
of abiotic, biotic, institutional, and socioeconomic constraints;
however, drought appears as a common constraint across all
systems. Several disease and insect problems are also
common to multiple maize systems. Poor crop management
and the need for improved technology dissemination were
identified as important constraints to production across the
country Finally, while socioeconomic and institutional
constraints appeared in each maize system, their impacts on
limiting maize production and productivity were considered
to be highest in the Southwest region.3


Research priorities are a moving target, an example of which was the recent
increase in the incidence of gray leaf spot caused by Cercospora zeae-maydisin
the southwest corner of Yunnan province. Starting in 2002, the disease has
spread at an alarming rate, likely due to the introduction of temperate maize
hybrids into subtropical ecologies.









Table 5.3. Top 25 constraints to maize production


Efficiency Index
Agroecological region Maize production system Constraints Rank

North China Rainfed Spring Head smut 1
Northeast Rainfed Spring Poor knowledge/use of appropriate agronomic methods and crop management 2
North China Rainfed Spring Drought 3
North China Irrigated Spring Head smut 4
Northeast Rainfed Spring Head smut 5
Northeast Rainfed Spring Drought 6
North China Irrigated Spring Drought 7
Northeast Rainfed Spring Ineffective agricultural extension (lack of funds) 8
Yellow-Huai River Valley Irrigated Summer Drought 9
North China Rainfed Spring Low seed quality (low germination, poor seed production quality) 10
North China Rainfed Spring Poor knowledge/use of appropriate agronomic methods and crop management 11
Yellow-Huai River Valley Rainfed Summer Low/decreasing soil fertility 12
Yellow-Huai River Valley Rainfed Spring Low/decreasing soil fertility 13
Yellow-Huai River Valley Irrigated Summer Low/decreasing soil fertility 14
Northeast Rainfed Spring Corn borer 15
North China Irrigated Spring Low seed quality (low germination, poor seed production quality) 16
Yellow-Huai River Valley Rainfed Summer Drought 17
Northeast Rainfed Spring Poor nutritional content and grain quality of current varieties 18
Yellow-Huai River Valley Rainfed Spring Drought 19
North China Rainfed Spring Corn borer 20
Yellow-Huai River Valley Rainfed Spring Poor knowledge of appropriate agronomic methods and crop management 21
Northeast Rainfed Spring Seed markets in disarray 22
Yellow-Huai River Valley Irrigated Summer Poor knowledge of appropriate agronomic methods and crop management 23
Yellow-Huai River Valley Rainfed Summer Poor knowledge of appropriate agronomic methods and crop management 24
Yellow-Huai River Valley Irrigated Summer Lack of appropriate machinery 25
Poverty Index
Agroecological region Maize production system Constraints Rank
Northwest Rainfed Spring Poor knowledge of appropriate agronomic methods and crop management 1
Northwest Irrigated Spring Drought 2
Northwest Rainfed Spring Head smut 3
Northwest Irrigated Spring Head smut 4
Northwest Irrigated Spring Poor knowledge of appropriate agronomic methods and crop management 5
Northwest Rainfed Spring Drought 6
Northwest Irrigated Spring Low rate of new variety replacement 7
Northwest Rainfed Spring Low rate of new variety replacement 8
Northwest Rainfed Spring Low soil fertility and soil erosion 9
Northwest Irrigated Spring Low farm level investment in maize production 10
Northwest Irrigated Spring Low/decreasing soil fertility 11
Northwest Rainfed Spring Red spider 12
Northwest Rainfed Spring Low farm level investment in maize production 13
Northwest Irrigated Spring Red spider 14
Northwest Irrigated Spring Lack of water-saving irrigation technology 15
Northwest Rainfed Spring Smut 16
Northwest Rainfed Spring Low quality seed 17
Northwest Irrigated Spring Sugarcane mosaic virus 18
Northwest Irrigated Spring Low quality seed 19
Northwest Irrigated Spring Smut 20
Northwest Irrigated Spring Fake fertilizer and pesticides 21
Northwest Rainfed Spring Fake seed, fertilizer and pesticides 22
Northwest Rainfed Spring Frost 23
Northwest Irrigated Spring Frost 24
Northwest Rainfed Spring Cutworm 25


(no weighting 6y output).









Table 5.3. Cont'd...
Marginality Index
Agroecological region Maize production system Constraints Rank
Southwest Rainfed Fall Drought 1
Southwest Rainfed Fall Low/decreasing soil fertility 2
Southwest Rainfed Spring Low/decreasing soil fertility 3
Southwest Rainfed Fall Low/decreasing soil fertility 4
Southwest Rainfed Fall Farm level cash flow shortages (low input use) 5
Southwest Rainfed Fall Difficulties in purchasing seed for desired varieties (very few available outlets) 6
Southwest Rainfed Fall Few marketing opportunities for farmers to sell maize due to undeveloped market 7
Southwest Rainfed Spring Drought 8
Southwest Rainfed Fall Poor maize nutritional and grain quality 9
Southwest Rainfed Summer Drought 10
Southwest Rainfed Summer Poor knowledge of appropriate agronomic methods and crop management 11
Southwest Rainfed Fall Poor knowledge of appropriate agronomic methods and crop management 12
North China Rainfed Spring Poor knowledge of appropriate agronomic methods and crop management 13
Southwest Rainfed Fall Fake and low quality seed 14
Southwest Rainfed Fall Turcicum leaf blight 15
Southwest Rainfed Fall Poor transportation infrastructure 16
North China Rainfed Spring Head smut 17
Southwest Rainfed Fall Storage rodents 18
Southwest Rainfed Fall Maydis disease 19
North China Rainfed Spring Drought 20
Southwest Rainfed Spring Leaf blight 21
Southwest Rainfed Fall Corn borer 22
Southwest Rainfed Fall Soil erosion 23
Southwest Rainfed Spring Low quality seed 24
Southwest Rainfed Summer Low quality seed 25
Substitutability Index
Agroecological region Maize production system Constraints Rank
Northeast Rainfed Spring Poor knowledge of appropriate agronomic methods and crop management 1
Northeast Rainfed Spring Head smut 2
Northeast Rainfed Spring Drought 3
Northeast Rainfed Spring Ineffective agricultural extension (lack of funds) 4
Northeast Rainfed Spring Corn borer 5
Northeast Rainfed Spring Poor nutritional content and grain quality of current varieties 6
Northeast Rainfed Spring Seed markets in disarray 7
Northeast Rainfed Spring Low germination rate of certain varieties 8
Northeast Rainfed Spring Stalk rot 9
Northeast Rainfed Spring Lodging 10
Northeast Rainfed Spring Frost 11
Northeast Rainfed Spring Soil insects (cut worm, mole cricket) 12
Northeast Rainfed Spring Army worm 13
Northeast Rainfed Spring Sugarcane mosaic virus 14
Northeast Rainfed Spring Maize rough dwarf virus 15
Northeast Rainfed Spring Grey blight 16
Northeast Rainfed Spring Turcicum blight / Maydis disease 17
Northeast Rainfed Spring Ear rot 18
Northeast Rainfed Spring Fake fertilizer and pesticides 19
Northeast Rainfed Spring Field rodents 20
Northeast Rainfed Spring Grain weevils 21
North China Rainfed Spring Head smut 22
Northeast Rainfed Spring Soil erosion 23
North China Rainfed Spring Drought 24
Northeast Rainfed Spring Storage rodents 25










Table 5.4. Top ten constraints to maize production by production system.

Northeast Region Rainfed Yellow-Huai River Valley
Constraint spring maize Constraint


Poor knowledge and use of 1
appropriate agronomic methods
and crop management
Head smut 2
Drought 3
Ineffective agricultural extension 4
(lack of funds)
Corn borer 5
Poor nutritional content and grain 6
quality of current varieties
Seed markets in disarray 7
Low germination rate of certain varieties 8
Stalk rot 9
Lodging 10
North Region Irrigated Rainfed
Constraint spring maize spring maize
Head smut 1 1
Drought 2 2
Poor seed quality 3 3
Poor knowledge/use of appropriate 4 4
agronomic methods and crop
management practices
Low / decreasing soil fertility 5 6
Red spider mite 6 7
Stalk rot 7
Corn leaf aphid 8 9
Smut 9 8
Sugar cane mosaic virus 10 10
Corn borer 5
Soil erosion 6
Northwest Region Irrigated Rainfed
Constraint spring maize spring maize
Drought 1 3
Head smut 2 2
Poor farmer knowledge/use of appropriate
agronomic and crop management practices 3 1
Low rate of variety replacement 4 4
- few varieties appropriate for local
conditions are released
Low farm level investment in inputs 5 7
Low / decreasing soil fertility 6
Red spider mite 7 6
Lack of water saving irrigation technology 8
Sugarcane mosaic virus 9
Poor seed quality 10 9
Low soil fertility and soil erosion 5
Common smut 8
Fake agricultural inputs 10
(fertilizers, pesticide, seed)


Irrigated Rainfed Rainfed
summer maize summer maize spring maize


Drought 1 2 2
Low / decreasing soil fertility 2 1 1
Poor farmer knowledge/use of 3 3 3
appropriate agronomic and crop
management practices / low productivity
Appropriate machinery unavailable 4 8 9
Turcicum leaf blight 5 4 6
Corn borer 6 6 5
Poor seed quality 7 5 4
High wind 8 9
Stalk rot 9 7 7
Maize rough dwarf virus 10
Cutworm 8
Common smut 10
Sugarcane mosaic virus 10
Southwest Region Rainfed Rainfed Rainfed
Constraint spring maize summer maize fall maize
Drought 1 1 1
Low / decreasing soil fertility 2 2 2
Low resistance of available varieties
to disease and insects 3 3
Corn borer 10 5
Limited maize marketing opportunities
due to undeveloped markets 7 6 5
Ineffective agricultural extension 7
Banded leaf and sheath blight 8 8
Maydis leaf blight 9
Poor maize nutritional and grain quality 6 10 6
Low farm level investment in inputs 4 4 3
Difficulties in obtaining seed for desired
varieties (very few available outlets) 5 4
Lack of agronomic and crop 9 7
management technology
Lack of variety options
Low seed quality (e.g., germination rate, 8
poor seed production quality)
Turcicum leaf blight 9
Poor transportation infrastructure 10










6. Discussion and Conclusions


The identification of regional and maize system
constraints highlighted differences in impediments to
maize production in the surveyed regions of China, but
also revealed many common problems encountered by
maize farmers. Although national level priorities target
issues in specific maize systems, the potential spillovers
to other regions and systems of addressing many of the
priority constraints are substantial. Drought was
identified as a key constraint in both the national priority
setting exercise and the individual maize system priority
setting exercises. Other constraints, such as poor on-farm
crop management, lack of technology and information
dissemination, and poor seed quality, may be more
efficiently and effectively tackled at a national level.
Participating farmers and scientists discussed a range of
possible solutions to eliminate or minimize the effect of
the constraints they prioritized.

Some of the constraints can largely be addressed
through technological solutions, although the mere
availability or development of technological solutions
does not guarantee either their accessibility to farmers
or their on-farm use. Research and development
efforts can be targeted towards improving both yield
potential and on-farm yields by reducing the impacts
of abiotic and biotic constraints. Given adequate
funding and resources for maize breeding, scientists
participating in the workshop felt confident that most
disease and insect problems described by farmers
could be addressed. In the past, disease and insect
resistant varieties developed through breeding have
been used successfully to control these problems.

The use of biological insect control has also been
successful. Improved crop management, including
intercropping and crop rotations that have been
adapted to local growing environments, offers
another potential solution. However, appropriate
market conditions for diverse crops must also be in
place for technologies to be accepted by farmers. A
fourth technological solution is the increased use of
pesticides by farmers, but this solution is also heavily


dependent on other factors such as market and
industry conditions, as well as farmer income and
opportunity costs.

Abiotic stresses such as drought, frost, and hail pose
difficult technological challenges, but the
development of stress tolerant varieties can greatly
reduce losses due to these constraints. Additional
efforts to increase the adoption of no till agricultural
methods and the use of technologies such as plastic
sheeting for mulch were also suggested as a means to
better control and improve the growing environment.
Again, these solutions involve the availability of the
necessary inputs and machinery, and access to them.
Scientists in the workshop encouraged further
collaborative research between agronomists and farm
machinery specialists, as well as the support of
farmer-operated machinery services.

Concerns with seed quality included the technical
aspects of seed production as well as the activities of
organizations and individuals involved in marketing
the seed. As such, successful solutions to this
constraint should promote better management and
better quality control of both the production process
and seed markets. Recommendations included
enforcing the existing seed production and marketing
regulations more effectively, as well as creating
additional regulations for the seed multiplication
process, and subsequent seed storage and delivery
mechanisms.

New technologies should be targeted not only
towards increasing yields, but also towards
improving grain quality for feed and industrial use.
These value-added improvements would enhance the
income-generating ability of maize farmers by
expanding the potential marketing outlets. Some
level of government investment in the development
of the maize processing industry was believed to be a
necessary element for the successful expansion of
alternative uses for maize.









The current ineffectiveness of the agricultural
extension system was highlighted as a major
impediment to improved maize production and
productivity. Both farmers and scientists recognized
the need for improving the dissemination of new and
existing technologies. An urgent call was made for
government reform of the agricultural extension
system consisting of additional investment in the
system, including the improvement of salaries,
benefits, and living conditions of agricultural
extension workers. Additional support for farmer
associations was also proposed as a means of
addressing problems with technology extension.

The Southwest rainfed spring/fall/winter maize
systems deserve special attention due to their
dependence on maize, which is consumed by farmers
directly as a staple food and is a source of income
through livestock and sales. The concerns of farmers in
these systems that maize varieties suitable for their
growing environment were not readily available stood
out as a unique situation of technology needs not
being fully addressed. This issue should not be
confused with market, institutional, or infrastructural
factors resulting in the unavailability of seed, although
those constraints were also raised by farmers in these
systems. A wider range of technological options needs
to be made available to these farmers.

A subset of the identified priority constraints requires
broader government policy interventions and
investments that do not directly involve science and
technology development. To increase the low level of
investment in inputs and improve maize profitability,
participants recommended reducing transactions costs
and farmers' tax burden as well as expanding small-
scale credit programs targeted specifically at farmers.
Increased public investment in farmer education and
training is also necessary.


Although many maize production areas coincide with
areas of low per capital income, increased maize
production and productivity will not provide the means
to solve the problems of poverty. Investment to improve
infrastructure and increase off-farm employment
opportunities in poverty areas must also be made.

Since the survey took place, liberalization and market
reform have decreased the implicit and heavy tax
burden imposed on maize farmers through
government grain procurement policies (Huang and
Rozelle 2006). Other recent policy interventions have
directly eliminated the burden of explicit agricultural
taxes and reversed a long-standing history of
agricultural taxation to one of direct subsidies to
farmers who produce grain in order to increase grain
production and improve rural incomes. Subsidies are
now in place for purchasing seed of designated high
quality "special use" varieties, including maize
varieties (Gale et al. 2005). However, it is still too early
to quantify the impact of any of these new policies.

For the past three decades, farmers in China have
operated in a constantly changing policy and market
environment that has drastically impacted all aspects
of maize production and utilization. Regular
technological advances have also contributed greatly
to the current state of maize production. In China a
challenging and unique mix of government
intervention and liberalization of agricultural and
market policies continue to influence maize
production. Addressing the complex set of identified
priority constraints to future maize production in
China will necessarily involve a combination of
science and policies to tackle the broader issues of
markets, infrastructure, and farmer capacity.











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