Institution: International Centre for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT)
Mauricio R. Bellon is currently Human Ecologist with the Economics Program at CIMMYT in Mexico. A Mexican national he earned a Ph.D. in Ecology from University of California, Davis in 1990. At CIMMYT he is responsible for participatory and gender research and jointly responsible for the human aspects of crop biodiversity research. He has worked at the International Rice Research Institute at Los Baños, Philippines from 1995 to 1997 as Social Anthropologist focusing on the social science aspects of on-farm conservation of Asian rice. He was an Assistant Research Professor at the Centro de Ecologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, from 1990 to 1995 doing research on the use and management of maize diversity by small-scale farmers. Designed and taught courses on human ecology; ecology and economics; and field methods in socioeconomic analysis.
Title: "Expanding the benefits: Farmers transformation of a CIMMYT technology to suit the poor."
This study documents how farmers transformed an improved technology, with desirable characteristics for all farmers, but perceived as affordable only to the wealthy, into one adopted by all, including the poor. This is done by examining the changes over a nine year period in the extent of adoption and associated farmers perceptions of an improved maize variety among different socioeconomic groups within a community (ejido) in Chiapas, Mexico. This improved variety is a Tuxpeño based open-pollinated variety (population 49) from CIMMYT, and released as a variety by the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Agricolas of Mexico (as V-524). Originally, farmers perceived it as having many desirable traits, but as a "variety for the rich". In fact, the extent of adoption was higher among farmers classified as rich compared with those classified as poor in a wealth ranking exercise. However, nine years later, this variety has been widely adopted by all socioeconomic groups. Farmers associate its widespread adoption to the fact that it has become "creolized" through their management, which fosters hybridization between improved and local varieties. A strength of this study is that it incorporates farmers perceptions and management practices into the analysis of the impact of an improved technology across different socioeconomic groups.
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