Early changes in farmers' adoption and use of an improved maize seed: An assessment of the impact of demos and field days

Mercy W. Kamau*, Fredrick Bagamba, Claris Riungu, John Mukundi, Robert Toel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Demonstration plots are widely used in the seed industry to create awareness and promote improved seed among smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the magnitude of effects on farmers' adoption behaviour is less known. Objectives: This study assessed the impact of demonstration plots and field days on farmers' awareness, knowledge and use of the improved maize variety that was being promoted. The study also assessed the impact on maize yields and production. Method: A promotion campaign was mounted by a local seed company in eastern and western Uganda, where demonstration plots were established and field days were held for two seasons. These were aimed at augmenting effects of radio messages that were aired over the same period. We used quasi-experimental approaches to determine changes in farmers' adoption behaviour towards a new maize variety, and the subsequent effects on productivity. Farm household data were collected at the baseline and midline from a sample of 2050 households. Results: The findings showed no effect on the proportion of farmers planting the promoted variety, the acreage or proportion of land planted with the promoted variety. This was not surprising as farmers' awareness and knowledge about the variety remained very low. Conclusion: The early result shows that demonstration plots were not effective, suggesting that more effective approaches should be explored. It may also be the case that the assessment was too early in the adoption cycle, in which case results after two more seasons of promotion will provide a better estimate of the effect.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbera278
JournalAfrican Evaluation Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2018


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