OECD Development Centre Working Papers

The OECD Development Centre links OECD members with developing and emerging economies and fosters debate and discussion to seek creative policy solutions to emerging global issues and development challenges. This series of working papers is intended to disseminate the OECD Development Centre’s research findings rapidly among specialists in the field concerned. These papers are generally available in the original English or French, with a summary in the other language.

English, French

Biotechnology and Developing Country Agriculture

Maize in Mexico

Maize has been a staple food in Mexico since pre-Hispanic times and is still an important source of calories and protein in daily consumption, especially for poor families. The pattern of consumption is nevertheless changing; with the share of food consumption declining and feed utilisation expanding. The agro-climatic conditions of production are highly diverse, with wide ranges in yields and rainfed areas accounting for the major share of total maize area and of total production. Mexico has become an important importer of both maize grain and seed. Reduction of these high levels of grain imports and growth in domestic production are priority policy objectives.

Improved seeds are sown in only one-fifth of the total area cultivated, but half the irrigated area. Despite the wide genetic variability of maize in Mexico only five improved varieties accounted for almost half the improved seed used during the spring/summer growing season. There is a pressing need in Mexico for a wider ...


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