Integrating farmers' information with geographic information systems for targeting of maize research in Kenya
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Information from farmers' surveys was combined with climatic information to evaluate the adequacy of the current biophysical characterisation of maize (Zea mays) adaptation zones (MAZs) in Kenya. The analysis showed that a better definition of MAZs was achieved by integrating farmers' information with the climatic data. Six MAZs were defined as distinct target domains for maize research as opposed to the previous four zones described by biophysical characterisation alone. The major biotic and abiotic stress factors, system constraints and socio-economic circumstances were found to vary significantly across the six zones. These attributes significantly influence farmers' decisions on maize cropping pattern and intensity, planting regimes and varietal selection, including germplasm maturity. The results indicated that the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) needs to reallocate research resources to the transitional and mid-altitude zones and to reverse the historical bias towards the high tropics if larger gains are to be realised from maize research.