Does Adoption of Improved Maize Varieties Enhance Household Food Security in Maize growing Zones of Eastern Kenya
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The paper evaluates the effect of intensity of adoption of improved maize varieties on household food security measured by per capita consumption expenditure, per capita maize consumption and farmer’s assessment. Three hundred and fourteen households were interviewed in the moist transitional zones of Embu, Meru South and Imenti South sub-counties in Kenya in September and October 2013. Intensity of adoption of improved maize varieties varies continuously and this feature allows estimation of the dose response function. The dose response function was estimated using generalized propensity score useful for analyzing causal effects of continuous treatments. The results indicated an increasing dose response function between intensity of adoption and per capita food consumption expenditure. The food consumption expenditure increased from KES 76 at 0.04 area share of improved maize varieties to KES 237 at 1 area share. Per capita maize consumption increased from 77 kg at 0.04 to 104 kg at 0.20 area shares of improved maize varieties but assumed diminishing return after 0.20 area shares. Likewise, the probability of food security increased from 58% at about 0.05 acres to 79 % at 1.4 adoption level. After 0.05 area share, the probability of food security decreased. Policies that increase maize productivity and ease farmer’s adoption constraints can enhance food security of households.