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Africa's Emerging Maize Revolution

Derek Byerlee and Carl K. Eicher, editors
ISBN: 978-1-55587-776-7
ISBN: 978-1-55587-754-5
1997/306 pages/LC: 97-10662
"I strongly recommend this book for any course in African studies.... Those who are totally averse to agriculture could assign the first two and last chapters and it would still be worth the price of the book!"—Thomas R. DeGregori, African Studies Review


Although relatively new to Africa, maize has recently replaced cassava as the continent's most important food crop, and increased maize production has the potential of helping to reverse Africa's food crisis. This book presents the results of extensive field research on the maize economy in six African countries, as well as broader-based studies of maize research and extension (R&E), soil fertility, seed distribution, fertilizer, and marketing and processing.

The main finding of the research is that R&E and associated input and marketing interventions have, as intended, produced rapid increases in maize production. Nevertheless, the results tell only a qualified success story—crop yields are still low, yield gains are threatened by a loss of soil fertility, and many farmer–support services require government subsidies. The authors outline the technical, institutional, and policy reforms needed to significantly accelerate maize production in Africa.


Derek Byerlee is principal economist in the Agricultural Policies Division, Agricultural and Natural Resources Department, at the World Bank. Formerly, he served as director of the Economics Program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). His most recent book is International Spillovers and Economies of Size in Agricultural Research: Wheat Research in Developing Countries (coedited with M.K. Maredia). Carl K. Eicher is university distinguished professor of agricultural economics and African studies at Michigan State University. His numerous publications include Agricultural Development in the Third World (coedited with John Staatz).


  • Introduction: Africa's Food Crisis—D. Byerlee and C.K. Eicher.
  • Evolution of the African Maize Economy—D. Byerlee and P.W. Heisey.
  • Zimbabwe's Emerging Maize Revolution—C.K. Eicher and B. Kupfuma.
  • Zambia's Stop-and-Go Maize Revolution—J.A. Howard and C. Mungoma.
  • Maize Technology and Productivity in Malawi—M. Smale and P.W. Heisey.
  • Increasing Maize Production in Kenya: Technology, Institutions, and Policy —R.M. Hassan and D.D. Karanja.
  • Maize Technology Development in Ghana During Economic Decline and Recovery—R. Tripp and K. Marfo.
  • Fostering Sustainable Increases in Maize Productivity in Nigeria—J. Smith et al.
  • The Technological Foundation of the Revolution—D. Byerlee and D. Jewell.
  • Maize Research Priorities: The Role of Consumer Preferences—L. Rubey et al.
  • Soil Fertility Management in Southern Africa—J.D.T. Kumwenda et al.
  • Institutional Innovations in the Maize Seed Industry—J. Rusike and C.K. Eicher.
  • Fertilizer Use and Maize Production—P.W. Heisey and W. Mwangi.
  • Maize Marketing and Pricing Policy in Eastern and Southern Africa—T.S. Jayne et al.
  • CONCLUSIONS—the Editors.