W. Abera, S. Hussein, J. Derera, M. Worku and M. D. Laing
Understanding farmers’ production constraints and preferences is important in maize breeding, especially underlying successful adoption of improved varieties and their production packages. This study was conducted to assess the present importance, and productivity constraints of maize in the mid-altitude, sub-humid agro-ecology of Western Ethiopia. Data was collected through a semi-structured questionnaire and focus group discussions, using 240 randomly selected respondent farmers, in 12 sub-districts, within three administrative zones. Maize was ranked number one as both food and cash crop by 82.9% of respondents. Most farmers (59%) use hybrids, while 24% grow landrace varieties. Unavailability of improved seed and lack of production inputs were the two major constraints reducing maize productivity, as reported by 62 and 60% of respondents, respectively. A high proportion of respondents (80%) indicated that, unpredictable grain prices are the major market constraint as 97% of the respondents sell their maize crop in the local market. Northern corn leaf blight (NCLB) was reported to be important by 46% of respondents. Breeding for improved disease resistance and grain yield, enhancing the availability of crop input and stabilizing market price during harvest time are the most important strategies to increase maize production by small-scale farmers in Western Ethiopia.
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