Maize seed variety awareness and sources of information among small-scale farmers in Kapipri Mposhi, Zambia

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Kabwe, Michael
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The liberalized and rapidly growing seed industry has been assumed to have improved awareness and information dissemination about maize seed varieties among the small-scale farm households. Therefore, this study was conducted to examine from the farmer's point of view, the effects of changing the seed industry on small scale fanners' choice of maize seed.The study was conducted among the small-scale farm households Mukonchi area in Kapiri Mposhi District of Zambia. The main objective of the study was to determine the effects of liberalization of the Seed industry on small scale the farmers' choice of maize seed suppliers, and the specific objectives were to determine the small-scale farmers' knowledge and source of the maize seed cultivars that they grow, to identify sources of information about maize seed varieties on the market, to find out the farmers' views on the quality of maize seed which is currently on the market, and to determine the reasons underlying small-scale farmers choice of maize seed on the market. Primary data was collected through a survey using a questionnaire, while secondary data was collected from the key informants in various seed supplying organizations as well as other related industries.The findings of the study revealed that the liberalized seed industry has contributed to the reduced gap between the rural farm households and the input markets as guided by information dissemination and improved maize varieties. This is so because small-scale farmers believe that there has been an improved maize seed quality supplied to the market for production, as indicated by maize seeds showing improvements in yield, storage qualities and the growing period. Small-scale farmers also believe that there has been an improvement in information dissemination regarding various maize seed cultivars on the market after liberalization of the seed industry as compared to the period before liberalization actually took place. The reason being that there are improved extension services, and other relevant reasons such as changes in advertising strategies coupled with demonstrations at field-days as well as during agriculture shows, as opposed to SSF training on how to use the seed.Based on these findings, it is recommended that Government should work in partnership with the seed suppliers in order to further improve extension services to small-scale farmers so as to offer training to the small-scale farmers on how best to use the various hybrid maize seed varieties to maximize yield. The other recommendation is that Zambia Seed Company (Zamseed) and the Maize Research Institution (MRI) should improve on their distribution strategies and information dissemination to compete favorably with the other seed suppliers like Pannar Seed Company and Seedco Limited.
Maize seed variety , Small-scale farmers