Production and use of maize seed for sowing in Bolivar, Ecuador

F.P. Duijndam, C.J. Evenhuis, J.E. Parlevliet

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In the province of Bolívar in the Andean region 212 farmers, six salesmen and 14 technicians, involved in maize production, were interviewed. The majority of the farmers interviewed were small-holders; 64% of the farmers had a farm size of less than 4.5 ha. Maize is the most important crop and is often grown in association with beans. Most maize, 96%, is soft maize meant for human consumption. The cultivars grown are open pollinated ones. One cultivar, `Guagal', was grown extensively. A few others, among which an improved version of Guagal were of some importance. In the production of maize the farmers consider damage due to insects, wind (lodging), diseases, drought and hail, the low prices for their surplus maize and the high costs of fertilizers, chemicals, sowing seed and labour as the most important constraints. The seed for sowing the next crop mainly came from seed kept from the last harvest. Farmers indicated that they select from the harvested ears the healthy looking larger ones. Kernel type also was a selection criterion. Selection for plant type in the field was rarely done. Of the farmers 71% stored the maize as kernels while 29% stored the seed kept on the ears. The storage was predominantly done somewhere in the house in plastic (56%) or cloth bags (14%), in a pile (13%), just on the floor (4%) or in cans (4%). Some farmers still had seed left from the last sowing and were willing to give a sample for testing. From 32 such samples the quality was assessed by INIAP, the Ecuadorean governmental research and breeding organisation. The samples were consistently of a low quality. Especially the vigour of the seedlings was poor and most of the seeds were infected or contaminated by fungi. In the region a few salesmen offer maize seed for sale of cultivar Guagal at prices affordable by the farmer. Of improved cultivars the prices were higher than most farmers are willing to pay. The technicians considered good seed quality and good maintenance of the cultivars effective methods in obtaining better yields. Many farmers do not have access to seed of INIAP and are not familiar with the improved cultivars.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-351
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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    Duijndam, F. P., Evenhuis, C. J., & Parlevliet, J. E. (2007). Production and use of maize seed for sowing in Bolivar, Ecuador. Euphytica, 153(3), 343-351.