Posts Tagged ‘socioeconomics’

Blue maize is all the rage, but are consumers willing to pay?

By Jennifer Johnson

Freshly made blue maize tortillas in a market in Texcoco, Mexico. Photo: Carolyn Cowan.

Step into supermarkets or restaurants in many parts of Mexico City and surrounding towns and you might see products made from blue maize – products which would not have been available just a few years ago. From blue corn chips to maize-based Mexican dishes such as blue tortillas and blue tamales, a beloved staple crop has taken on a new hue. But should breeders, millers, processors or farmer organizations invest in expanding the production of blue maize and blue maize products? Are consumers really interested, and are they willing to pay more?

These are some of the questions asked by researchers at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico. They set up a choice experiment study on blue maize tortillas to test consumer preferences and willingness to pay for this product.

MAIZE and WHEAT Global Gender Study: coding large-scale data to reveal the drivers of agricultural innovation

From left to right: Patti Petesch, Diana Lopez, Paula Kantor, Vongai Kandiwa, Dina Najjar, Lone Badstue, Anuprita Shukla and Amare Tegbaru. Photo: Xochiquetzal Fonseca/CIMMYT

From left to right: Patti Petesch, Diana Lopez, Paula Kantor, Vongai Kandiwa, Dina Najjar, Lone Badstue, Anuprita Shukla and Amare Tegbaru. Photo: Xochiquetzal Fonseca/CIMMYT

MAIZE and WHEAT CRP investigators from the global cross-CRP study on gender in agricultural innovation met at CIMMYT headquarters in El Batán, Mexico from 26 Feb to 1 March to take stock of progress so far and plan the next steps in the implementation of this unique research initiative.

Research, Reorganized

Agricultural research is changing. In order to have a greater impact, research must be relevant to a greater variety of farmers in different contexts, while being both applicable and adaptable.

Ways must also be found to solve institutional constraints, which are very often beyond the researchers’ sphere of control. Policies can be changed to allow community seed production, better connections established between maize producers and traders, extension systems strengthened or willing agro-dealers found to commercialize new seeds.