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Maize diversity, poverty, and market access: lessons from Mexico

Author: Keleman, A.
Author: Garcia Raño, H.
Author: Hellin, J.
Year: 2009
Abstract: Crop genetic diversity and poverty are linked: first, resource-poor farmers often maintain genetic diversity; and second, crop diversity, when properly valued by the market, has the potential to alleviate poverty. This article examines this supposition by drawing on three case studies of the intersection of the market with poverty and maize diversity in Mexico. These suggest that the bulk market for maize offers little room for maize landraces (local maize varieties known as criollo maize), in that it does not reward qualitative variation in maize grain and instead presents incentives that make planting 'improved' maize germplasm the rational economic choice for small-scale farmers. Meanwhile, attempts to add value to maize landraces via market differentiation have had varying success. Although there is potential for differentiated markets to contribute to successful business models and poverty alleviation, these cases exhibit trade-offs between product consistency, investment of labour and resources, and genetic-diversity conservation.
Language: English
Copyright: CIMMYT manages Intellectual Assets as International Public Goods. The user is free to download, print, store and share this work. In case you want to translate or create any other derivative work and share or distribute such translation/derivative work, please contact indicating the work you want to use and the kind of use you intend; CIMMYT will contact you with the suitable license for that purpose.
Type: Article
Country: Mexico
Region: North America
Pages: 187-199
Journal issue: 2
Journal: Development in Practice
Journal volume: 19

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This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Genetic Resources
    Genetic Resources including germplasm collections, wild relatives, genotyping, genomics, and IP
  • Maize
    Maize breeding, phytopathology, entomology, physiology, quality, and biotech
  • Socioeconomics
    Including topics such as farming systems, markets, impact & targeting, innovations, and GIS

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