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Productivity differences and food security: a metafrontier analysis of rain-fed maize farmers in MasAgro in Mexico

M. Laura Donnet Iraís Dámaris López Becerril J. Roy Black Jon Hellin

*Corresponding author: M. Laura Donnet lauradon105@hotmail.com.


Rain-fed maize production in Mexico includes approximately 6 million hectares which variation in productivity represents huge challenges to meeting the sustainable intensification goals of the Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture (MasAgro) program. We use the information available from farmers participating in this program to investigate the differences in productivity and the effects of the promoted practices and technologies in seven defined rain-fed maize regions. We do this by applying metafrontier analysis to measure the technical efficiency and the technology gap. The results show a range of technical efficiency from 70 to 100%, which indicates the gains that can be achieved through improved management of the current inputs and practices of farmers in the program, and a range of the environment–technology gap between 32 and 82%, which indicates the limitations of the production environment which would require innovations in technologies and policies particularly adapted for the dry, the tropical and the more traditional regions. Furthermore, the results show that the use of hybrid seed and selling into maize markets have the largest impact in increasing maize yields in all regions. The difference between the MasAgro farmers and the average farmers in each region suggest that scaling the project will contribute to increasing maize production and Mexico’s food self-sufficiency.

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