Hybrid and OPV maize market segments in western and central Africa

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Lead farmers” by Find Your Feet is licensed under CC BY 2.0

(Market Intelligence Bulletin, Volume 1)
Agnes Gitonga, Sika Gbegbelegbe, Dean Muungani

In a crop breeding context, a seed product market segment (SPMS) describes a group of farmers with similar requirements for seed products based on how the crop is used, where it is grown, and how it is grown. A SPMS provides the foundation for designing the ideal seed product to meet these requirements, as well as assessing the investment opportunity from building the product.

One of the criteria for segmentation (see Market Intelligence Brief #1 for details), is whether the seed product is hybrid or OPV. Getting this right is key: the blueprints for product design, referred to as Target Product Profiles (TPPs), for OPV products are likely to have major differences in yield requirements vis-à-vis the TPPs for hybrid maize products. There are likely other notable differences in targets related to uniformity and vigor.

A key question unanswered for advancing the maize market segmentation in western and central Africa is the size of market segments for hybrids and open-pollinated varieties (OPVs).

With support from Market Intelligence, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) engaged national maize breeding programs to gather more insights into maize market segments, including the sizes of the OPV and hybrid segments. The process involved holding country-level discussions with national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES) as well as data verification through other data sources, where applicable: for example, annual seed sales/production.

Table 1 summarizes the main results of these consultations. Most maize production in western and central Africa relies on OPV seed products. The region grows white, yellow, and orange maize. The main uses of maize are human consumption and production of animal feed.

Future engagements will focus on achieving alignment on how production environments for maize in the region are described. This will facilitate optimal consolidation of market segments from country level to subregion level by ensuring that similar production environments in different countries are referenced in similar terms. This will present an opportunity to align market segments and TPPs at a subregion level.

Table 1. Estimates of market shares for maize grain (by color) and seed products (OPV, hybrids) in western and central Africa
Country  Total area (ha) Estimate of sizes of maize grain markets color  Estimate of farmer uptake of OPV and hybrid maize seed products 
Nigeria 5 940 000 White, yellow, and orange maize varieties  In dry savannah, OPVs command 70% of the market, with 30% being hybrids.

In moist savannah, forest hybrids have 60%, with OPVs 40% of the market. 

DR Congo 2 330 000 White maize 70%, orange maize 25%, yellow maize 5%  The area under production is nearly all OPVs. Only large-scale farmers use hybrids from neighboring countries, for less than 1%.
Cameroon 1 179 000 White 40%, yellow 60%  The market is 90% OPVs, with the remaining 10% hybrids.
Mali 1 121 000 White 40%, yellow 50%, orange 10%  The market is about 90% OPVs and 10% hybrid.
Benin 1 079 000 White 80%, yellow ~ 15%, orange <5%  The market is predominantly OPVs with no registered hybrid maize.
Ghana 1 002 000 White 70% of the market, yellow 30%, orange upcoming About 80% of white maize varieties are OPVs, 20% are hybrids. For yellow maize, 70% are OPVs and 30% are hybrids.
Burkina Faso 967 000 White 70%, yellow 30%  OPVs command >90% of the total market. The market has moved from almost no hybrids used in 2019 to about 5% in 2022.
Togo 699 000 White, yellow, and orange maize varieties OPVs command more than 95% of the area under production.
Senegal 182 000 Yellow 70%, white the remaining  Hybrids account for less than 5% of the market.

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