Group Title: Research report
Title: Adoption of hybrid maize in Zambia
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: Adoption of hybrid maize in Zambia effects on gender roles, food consumption, and nutrition
Series Title: Research report
Physical Description: viii, 126 p. : ill., map ; 26 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Kumar, Shubh K
Publisher: International Food Policy Research Institute,
International Food Policy Research Institute
Place of Publication: Washington D.C
Publication Date: 1994
Copyright Date: 1994
Subject: Corn industry -- Zambia -- Eastern Province   ( lcsh )
Hybrid corn -- Economic aspects -- Zambia -- Eastern Province   ( lcsh )
Food consumption -- Zambia -- Eastern Province   ( lcsh )
Nutrition -- Zambia -- Eastern Province   ( lcsh )
Agricultural laborers -- Zambia -- Eastern Province   ( lcsh )
Women agricultural laborers -- Zambia -- Eastern Province   ( lcsh )
Sex role in the work environment -- Zambia -- Eastern Province   ( lcsh )
Maïs -- Industrie -- Zambie -- Eastern   ( rvm )
Maïs hybride -- Aspect économique -- Zambie -- Eastern   ( rvm )
Aliments -- Consommation -- Zambie -- Eastern   ( rvm )
Nutrition -- Zambie -- Eastern   ( rvm )
Travailleurs agricoles -- Zambie -- Eastern   ( rvm )
Travailleuses agricoles -- Zambie -- Eastern   ( rvm )
Rôle selon le sexe en milieu de travail -- Zambie -- Eastern   ( rvm )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
statistics   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Zambia
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 116-126).
Statement of Responsibility: Shubh K. Kumar.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00085468
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 31753910
lccn - 94048103
isbn - 0896291030

Full Text
9/, / 4Y

Vt ~

MAR 8 1995




Shubh K. Kumar

In Adoption of Hybrid Maize in Zambia: Effects on
Gender Roles, Food Consumption, and Nutrition,
Research Report 100, Shubh K. Kumar examines
the reasons for low productivity of maize, the prin-
cipal crop in Eastern Province, Zambia, compared
with its potential, and suggests steps for increasing
future productivity. The report also looks at the
effects of adoption of hybrid maize on household
consumption, nutrition, health, income, and labor
and on how these may be redistributed within the
household as a result of adoption. In particular, it
focuses on changes in women's roles in crop man-
agement and resulting changes in allocation of time
and money. The report is based on a collaborative
study in Eastern Province conducted in 1986 by the
International Food Policy Research Institute with
the University of Zambia's Rural Development
Studies Bureau and the Zambian National Food
and Nutrition Commission to examine the growth
and equity effects of technological change.
Farmers in Eastern Province grow local maize
for their own consumption and sell hybrid maize.
This is because local maize can be processed at
home, while the hybrid maize varieties do not store
as well and require milling. As a result, farmers
tend to devote more labor to local maize than to
hybrid maize. Moreover, hybrid maize is often
planted after the local maize, when the optimum
planting time is past, and this may contribute to
lower-than-expected yields. Bottlenecks in avail-
ability and distribution of improved seeds and fer-
tilizers also cause lower yields.

In the mid-1980s, the government of Zambia,
confronted with the need for structural adjustment
and a way to feed its expanding urban population,
considered the effects of reducing public control of
agricultural prices and markets for inputs and out-
puts. It felt that subsidy and pricing policies
encouraged expansion of maize area into mar-
ginal areas and discouraged growth in yields
through adoption of new technology. Eastern
Province, which has excellent growing conditions
for maize but poor infrastructure, is located far
from urban centers. Increasing agricultural produc-
tivity through adoption of new technology seemed
essential for its future economic growth, but, with-
out subsidies or improved infrastructure, what
would be the incentive for planting hybrid maize?

Maize has dominated agricultural research and ex-
tension programs in Zambia since before inde-
pendence, when government incentives aimed to
increase production in order to feed copper mine
workers. Although adoption of high-yielding maize
has been the key element in a program to bring
technological change to Zambian agriculture, it has
nearly always been accompanied by input subsi-
dies and extension programs aimed at increasing
the use of mechanical traction and chemical fertiliz-
ers. Larger farms received most of the subsidized
inputs and were targeted for extension because it

1200 SEVENTEENTH STREET, N.W. WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036-3006 U.SA. 1-202/862-5600 FAX 1-202/467-4439 E-MAIL IFPRI@CGNET.COM

was believed that they were more likely to have
access to ox plows, tractors, or hired labor and
hence could grow the new maize more efficiently.
However, the report finds that farms of 2-3
hectares produce hybrid maize most efficiently,
and therefore adoption of the hybrid has a positive
effect on the welfare of those households. On farms
with more than 4 hectares of hybrid maize, the
increments to income from hybrid maize become
negative; the decision to keep growing hybrids on
larger farms appears to be related to subsidized
inputs and an increasingly skewed distribution of
intrahousehold income. Because household deci-
sions affecting production and consumption are
likely to be made simultaneously, with each affect-
ing the other, the study uses a variable that is not
a predictor of adoption behavior-household con-
sumption expenditure as a proxy for income-to
derive income effects. Household food consump-
tion increases and child nutrition improves on
smaller farms when they adopt hybrid maize, but
it actually decreases on larger farms with adoption
(Figure 1).

This report finds that crop management is the key
to distribution of income within rural households.
The person who manages the crop has a larger
voice in how the resulting income from that crop is
spent. The study finds that women either inde-
pendently or jointly managed 60 percent of area
under local maize production, but they were involved
in management of only 25 percent of hybrid maize
area. In households that grew hybrid maize, men
spent more time on agriculture, shifting time away
from nonagricultural activities. Overall, women's
level of involvement in decisionmaking in agricul-
tural production was relatively lower in hybrid-
maize-adopting households (Figure 2).
According to the report, in households headed
by females, the overall rate of adoption of hybrid
maize (22 percent) was lower than that in house-
holds headed by males (34 percent). The report
finds that the adoption rate was lower on female-
headed farms of less than 3 hectares, while the
share of female-headed households over 3 hec-
tares using hybrid maize was relatively higher than
the comparable proportion of larger farms headed
by men. For example, on farms of 1-2 hectares,
households headed by females that adopted hybrid

Figure 1
Changes in nutrition of children under 10 years over
crop year, by farm size and hybrid maize adoption

Percent Below -2 Z-Scores
35- .. ... .

February June September November
Preharvest Harvest Postharvest Start of Next
Crop Cycle
Small farm, adopter Large farm, adopter
-- Small farm, nonadopter -- Large farm, nonadopter

Children from small farm households that have adopted hybrid maize
are less likely to be malnourished than children from nonadopting
households-large or small.

Figure 2
Share of cash transactions
local maize production

by women in hybrid and

Percent of Total

Purchased Hired Labor
Inputs Clearing/ Weeding/
Planting Fertilizing


Women are much more likely to be involved in decisionmaking and cash
transactions regarding local maize than hybrid maize.

Figure 3
Adoption of hybrid maize by farm size and head of

1 2 hectares

Male-headed households
C Adopters of hybrid maize
g Nonadopters
Female-headed households
a Adopters of hybrid maize

More than 5 hectares

On farms of more than
5 hectares, all of the house-
holds headed by females (30
percent) adopted hybrid maize,
indicating that women are not averse
to new technology when they have the
resources required.

Figure 4
Calorie consumption by farm size and hybrid maize
adoption in plateau areas of Eastern Province

aptal Large Farms Small Farms






Adopters Nonadopters

Adopters Nonadopters

Average calorie consumption is higher on large farms, reflecting generally
higher incomes, but large farms that plant hybrid maize consume fewer
calories, on average, than large farms that do not use the hybrid.

maize amounted to only 2 percent of the total number
of farms, compared with 23 percent of the total for
adopting households headed by males (Figure 3).

The study finds that men increase the share of
time they spend in agriculture, while women reduce
their share as adoption of hybrid maize increases.
When household income, measured by consump-
tion expenditure, rises, women increase the time
they spend on household maintenance. Some
studies conducted in other countries have found a
marked improvement in nutrition and well-being of
children when women spend more time cooking
and caring for them. This report finds, however, that
an increase in women's share of income improves
child nutrition far more than an increase in time
spent at home, indicating that child care is com-
patible with women's agricultural work in rural
Zambia. The small gains in nutrition from an in-
crease in women's home maintenance work could
be improved by using better technology in, say,
food processing through easy access to hammer-
mills for grinding grain, for example. Analysis of
the nutritional status of children shows that long-
term indicators such as height-for-age are affected
by income, particularly women's income. How-
ever, short-term malnutrition was pronounced in
children during February, the season when food
supplies tend to be shortest and the work load for
all household members, including women, is
heaviest. Better access to health services and
improved sanitation facilities also played a promi-
nent role in improving child nutrition.
In examining household food intake and diet
diversity, the report finds that adoption of hybrid
maize improved food consumption of the smaller
farm households, whereas those with larger farms
actually consumed fewer calories than similar
households that had not adopted the hybrids (Fig-
ure 4). As in many poor rural areas where labor is
in short supply, allocation of food and income were
closely related. If adequate food to maintain energy
levels is unavailable during seasons when the de-
mand for labor is high, farmers may not be able to
work hard enough to efficiently produce the crop,
thus reducing subsequent income. Measures to
improve food consumption are therefore likely to be
as effective as measures to improve income in
making sustainable changes in welfare.


Reforms in grain marketing policies are likely to
lead to reductions in maize area planted and in
production in Zambia. Since maize is a staple
food, it therefore becomes urgent to increase pro-
ductivity by increasing yields, and the way to in-
crease yields is through the adoption of new tech-
nology, including high-yielding grain varieties
such as hybrid maize. Because Eastern Province
is so far from major urban centers, however, it
seems impractical to encourage the use of hybrid
maize as a cash crop unless there is an increase
in the construction of roads and processing and
storage facilities.
But policies to encourage use of higher-yield-
ing maize varieties as a food crop may be even
more important. Policies that help farmers to re-
place local maize with hybrids in their diets and
their food security strategies, thus giving hybrid
maize priority in allocation of labor and other re-
sources, will be instrumental in ensuring that the
hybrids reach their full potential.
Policies to provide equal access to credit and
inputs for women farmers are also important be-
cause increasing women's income is shown to be
the most effective way to improve children's nutri-
tion, and women's role in farm management has
been crucial for efficient farm operation in Zambia.
Because women are heavily involved in produc-
tion of local maize for home consumption, they
should be trained in how to grow, store, and proc-
ess hybrid maize, so that they have an option in
choosing the best strategy for meeting household

food needs. Improvements in the seed and fertil-
izer distribution systems, the credit and extension
systems, and rural infrastructure such as roads
are important for all farmers-men and women,
large and small farms.
With a liberalized market, the emphasis should
be turned toward innovative extension services di-
rected to both male and female smallholders. The
finding that a bigger share of women than men who
headed larger farms adopted hybrid maize implies
that women are not too risk-averse to adopt new
technology, provided they have the opportunity to
acquire the requisite credit and inputs.
In the past, most of the agricultural develop-
ment policies were geared toward the larger farm-
ers, leading to inefficient expansion of area sown
in hybrid maize on larger farms. Research to de-
termine why hybrid maize use was inefficient on
larger farms is needed. Since high-yielding maize
varieties ideal for small farms have now been
developed, their use should be promoted.
Government incentives for investing in simple
infrastructure such as improved on-farm storage
facilities and hammermills will encourage increased
use of hybrid maize for home consumption. Removal
of price policies that in the past prevented sea-
sonal price changes will also increase on-farm
storage. And removal of input subsidies, although
it will increase the cost of production, should dis-
courage growing of hybrid maize on marginal
lands, thus increasing yields per hectare. Finally,
policies that augment food availability in seasons
of scarcity will contribute to improved productivity
and household income gains by increasing the
energy level of farm workers.

Please -send me a copy of Adoption of Hybrid Maize in
Zambia: Effects on Gender Roles, Food Consumption, and
Nutrition, by Shubh K. Kumar.




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs