The potato sector in Kenya has been hampered by inadequate use of certified seed mainly due to inefficient delivery of quality seed in the right quantities. This study aimed at estimating the farmer demand for seed as well as analysing the structure, conduct and performance of the seed market. A total of 250 farmers and 36 fertiliser traders were interviewed between February and April 2001, using systematic and simple random sampling procedures, respectively. Three models namely: the structure-conduct-performance model, the seed requirement model and the potato input demand analysis model, were used to analyse the market performance, estimate the total seed requirement for a given variety and to estimate the seed demand, respectively. The results indicated that the seed demand had a significant positive relationship with producer price and that producer price was the major determinant of the potato seed demand. Also, the study revealed that there was unregulated informal seed marketing and distribution system. These results clearly showed that producer price incentives are critical in enhancing potato production in a particular region in Kenya and that the informal seed system needs to be regulated to ensure supply of certified seed in the right quantities.
Key words: Market structure-conduct-performance, potato production, producer price, seed requirement, seed demand.
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