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Accueil du site → Doctorat → États-Unis → 1994 → A commodity subsector approach to the design of agricultural research : the case of maize in Mali

Michigan State University (1994)

A commodity subsector approach to the design of agricultural research : the case of maize in Mali

Boughton, Duncan

Titre : A commodity subsector approach to the design of agricultural research : the case of maize in Mali

Auteur : Boughton, Duncan

Etablissement de soutenance : Michigan State University


This study examines the potential contribution of a commodity subsector approach to the design of agricultural research programs through a case study of agricultural production, processing, and demand for maize in Mali. The framework stresses how conditions at one level of a subsector influence constraints and opportunities for technical and institutional innovations at other levels. The study examines the historical impact of maize technology development and diffusion in Mali. Farm-level adoption of intensive maize was rapid, given guaranteed prices and a vertically integrated technology delivery and output marketing system provided by Mali’s cotton parastatal. Subsequent cereal market liberalization and increased aggregate cereal production resulting from improved rains caused maize prices to fall. Farmers adopted more extensive cultivation techniques in response. A rapid interdisciplinary appraisal of the maize subsector confirmed that expansion was hindered by "thin market" characteristics. Only a small proportion of maize is traded through the market, and quantity and quality are unpredictable. The rapidly growing urban population is a potential source of increased demand for maize to broaden the market. Processing difficulties and unfamiliarity with maize were identified as the main constraints for urban consumers. Opportunities to expand urban demand for processed maize products are explored in detail. A one-year study of cereal procurement and consumption was undertaken in the capital city, Bamako. The potential demand for maize flour was estimated with a Tobit model using contingent valuation data obtained through household consumption tests of different quality flours (dehulled and whole grain). Demand for maize flour appears adequate to support financially viable processing units, but is unlikely to significantly increase aggregate urban demand for maize because of low household processing costs, which reflect the low opportunity cost of women’s time. Increased maize processing costs following the January 1994 devaluation of the CFA franc will further dampen short-run demand. Whole grain flour is significantly cheaper than dehulled flour, which suits the need of poor urban consumers. Given the significant increase in fertilizer prices following devaluation, opportunities for technological innovations to improve farm-level productivity are also studied.


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