Hybrid-maize seed certification and smallholder adoption in Zambia

Jordan Blekking, Kurt B. Waldman, Tom Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


During the 1990s, many Southern African governments liberalized their seed markets. This move initiated an influx of hybrid-maize seeds onto markets through greater involvement of private seed developers. Since then the number of varieties of hybrid seeds has grown considerably. Using an institutional analysis framework, we illustrate the complex system of actors and feedback that governs the seed certification process in Zambia. We also examine how smallholder hybrid-seed use has changed over the last decade. We find the Zambian seed certification system allows for frequent certification of new varieties each year without much scrutiny of seed use and performance by smallholders. Smallholders face a complex challenge in selecting seeds due to inconsistencies between the potential yields cited during the seed certification process and the yields reported by smallholders. This inconsistency jeopardizes the goal of food security sought after by both smallholders and policymakers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-377
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
StatePublished - 2020


  • Agriculture
  • Southern Africa
  • Zambia
  • breeding
  • maize
  • seed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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