Maize is a principal food crop in Kenya and the coastal lowlands. Choice of the enterprise at household level is influenced by the social position maize commands both as a staple food and trade facility or good while production patterns are dictated by various factors among them being resource endowment. Research in the recent past has provided technological recommendations that include fertilizer and pesticides use along with yield data with different management regimes. In the event of not using fertilizer or pesticides, yield losses of 0.421 and 0.203 by proportion of the yield potential were recorded in two different empirical studies respectively for the improved varieties thereby translating to a total gross margin short-fall of KES. 11,192/= per hectare. The household economic effect of this loss therefore doubles to wastage of land space and on the overall denied economic returns to labor devoted to the enterprise. The findings give evidence to recommend devotion to hard decisions on enterprise choice in place of maize especially where land is a limiting factor. High value short duration crops or a balanced cropping mix are thus recommended as best bet alternatives.
Key words: Maize, yield losses, field pests, fertilizer, coastal lowland, gross margin, resource poor and household.
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