The Impact of Improved Maize Germoplasm on Poverty Alliviation: The Case of Tuxpeño Derived Materia in Mexico
This study documents how poor small-scale farmers in lowland tropical Mexico use improved maize germplasm and how this contribute to their well-being. It does this by assessing both the direct adoption of improved varieties and examining the process of their “creolization”. By exposing improved varieties to their conditions and management, continually collecting seed for replanting, and in some cases promoting their hybridization with landraces, either by design or by accident, farmers produce what they recognize as “creole” varieties. Creolization provides farmers with new options, as they deliberately modify an improved technology generated by the formal research system to suit their own circumstances and needs. The impacts of the use of improved maize germplasm are defines and analyzed in terms of the extent to which they supply farmers with traits they consider important and the trade-offs they entail. The results support the hypothesis, poor farmers benefit from improved germplasm through creolization, and the implications of the findings are discussed.