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Diverse varieties and diverse markets: Scale-related maize "profitability crossover" in the central Mexican highlands

Author: Keleman, A.
Author: Hellin, J.
Author: Flores, D.
Year: 2013
ISSN: 0300-7839
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10883/3320
Abstract: Discussions of maize agriculture in Mexico often treat 'maize' as a uniform commodity, sold in a relatively homogeneous market, and for which there is a single, 'economically rational' production strategy. Based on qualitative research on maize value chains, we suggest that this unitary notion entails significant oversimplifications. We offer a heuristic model of farm-size related 'profitability crossover,' based on observations of highland maize varieties? roles within a series of farm-cycle opportunities and constraints. We suggest that while improved maize varieties may be profitable for large-scale farms taking advantage of economies of scale, landrace cultivation may offer advantages to small- to medium-scale farmers, who utilize a diverse range of input strategies, and sell their products in specialty markets. Understanding maize agriculture as a multi-product and multi-market pursuit rather than uniform commodity production would add greater depth to policy and academic debates.
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 CIMMYT-Knowledge-Center@cgiar.org 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
Pages: 683-705
Journal issue: 5
Journal: Human Ecology
Journal volume: 41
DOI: 10.1007/s10745-013-9566-z
Keywords: Mexico
Keywords: Maize
Keywords: Agro-biodiversity
Keywords: Agricultural development
Keywords: small-scale farmers
Publisher URI: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10745-013-9566-z


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  • Socioeconomics
    Including topics such as farming systems, markets, impact & targeting, innovations, and GIS

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