Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes
University of Missouri
John Kruse
World Agricultural Economic and Environmental Services
Marnus Gouse
Gates Foundation and University of Pretoria

In this study, we evaluate the potential economic impact of herbicide- tolerant (HT) maize in Kenya. HT maize is essentially a new weed-control approach. The potential agronomic changes from the use of HT maize are multidimensional and subtle and must be understood within the context of Kenya’s maize farming systems and the inherent crop-weed competition. We therefore begin by analyzing the current status of weed-control systems in the Kenya maize sector and review what is known about their relative effectiveness, constraints, and impact on yields and farm profitability. Next, we discuss how HT maize can change the weed-control systems of maize production, in general, as well as their economics. We also examine the accumulated experience from the adoption of HT maize in countries with many subsistence farmers and draw useful parallels for Kenya. Against this background, we then discuss how weed control, yields, and farm economics in Kenyan maize production can change from the introduction of HT maize and estimate the potential aggregate economic impacts of the technology for a 10-year period.

Key words: Herbicide tolerance, maize, economic impact, Kenya.