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Economic gains from maize research in West and Central Africa: an overview
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Agricultural research by national systems and international institutes has contributed to the increase in maize production and productivity in West and Central Africa (WCA) over the last three decades. This subregion accounted for about 43% of maize production in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) from 1998-2000, compared with 17% 30 years ago (1968-1970). Yields improved by 41% from an average of 858 kg ha"' in 1970 to about 1210 kg ha"' in 2000. During the period under review, a large number of disease resistant varieties were released, methods for more effective control of pests and diseases were developed, and institutional capacity and capability of the NARS were greatly strengthened. One impact of maize research is the improvement in the standard of living of maize producers. Spillover effects of maize research include but are not limited to a better and greater use of improved technologies for the production of other crops and economic gains to the maize importers and consumers in WCA. There is evidence that the rate of increase in the real price of maize was not significant and was less than that of other food commodities.