Insect Resistant Maize for Africa Project (IRMA) aims at developing and deploying insect resistant maize varieties to reduce grain losses due to insect pests. As part of incorporating farmer’s perceptions and improving the adoption of the developed varieties, participatory approaches are adopted. The paper analysis farmer’s preferences of maize germplasm developed through conventional breeding. The paper uses data collected from evaluations conducted at the end of 2006 April and October rains. Nine stem borer resistant maize varieties were evaluated alongside six commercial checks in the moist transitional zones (East and West) at vegetative and harvest stage, while in the dry transitional zone and dry mid altitude zones, 6 new varieties were evaluated together with four commercial checks at harvest stage. Each variety was assessed on a scale of 1(very poor) to 5 (very good) based on key criteria generated in earlier group discussions with farmers and overall score. Data was analyzed using ordinal regression model of Social Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). In DT zone, Katumani, CKIR06007 and CKIR06008 were more preferred to the checks based on overall score. CKIR06008 was also more preferred on yield and tolerance to insect pest criteria, while CKIR04002, CKIR06009, and CKIR04003 were perceived more superior to local check based on tolerance to insect pests. In moist transitional zone Embu only CKIR06005 was more preferred (p<0.01) to the check at harvest stage in April 2006 season based on early maturity. While there was no preference for the new varieties at vegetative stage in Embu in October rains 2006 season, a number of new varieties CKIR06001, CKIR06002, CKIR06003, CKIR06004, and CKIR06005 were more preferred based on early maturity at harvest in October rains 2006 season. In the moist transitional zone (west), CKIR06005 and CKIR06005 were more preferred on maturity criteria but CKIR06004 also had good attributes in terms of cob size vegetative stage in April rains 2007. We conclude that farmers perceive some varieties to have good tolerance to insect pests in addition to good yield and maturity characteristics attributes, which are critical to the farmers in the adoption of new varieties.


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