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Best Maize Variety In Kenya: Top Picks For Optimal Yield

Best Maize Variety In Kenya

Maize is one of the most important staple foods in Kenya, and it is grown in almost all parts of the country. However, the best maize variety in Kenya to plant varies depending on the region. Farmers need to choose the right variety that is well adapted to their specific location, has good yields, and is resistant to pests and diseases.

There are several factors to consider when selecting the best maize variety for a particular region in Kenya. These include the agro-ecological zone, rainfall patterns, soil type, altitude, and temperature. For instance, in areas with high rainfall and humidity, farmers need to choose maize varieties that are resistant to diseases such as maize smut and rust. In drier areas, farmers need to select drought-tolerant varieties that can withstand long periods of dry spells.

Choosing the right maize variety is crucial for farmers to achieve high yields and profitability. In this article, we will explore the best maize varieties to plant in different regions of Kenya based on expert recommendations and research. We will also provide information on the characteristics and benefits of each variety to help farmers make informed decisions when selecting the best maize variety for their farm.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Maize Variety

Choosing the right maize variety to plant can be a daunting task for farmers. However, it is a crucial decision that can determine the success or failure of their harvest. Here are some factors to consider when selecting the best maize variety:

  • Climate: Maize varieties are developed based on the climatic conditions of a particular region. Therefore, it is essential to choose a variety that is well-suited for the local climate. For instance, if the area experiences long dry spells, a drought-tolerant variety would be the best option.
  • Soil type: The type of soil in the farm can also influence the choice of maize variety. Some varieties do well in loamy soils, while others thrive in sandy soils. Farmers should conduct soil tests to determine the soil type and choose a variety that is compatible with it.
  • Yield potential: Farmers should choose a maize variety that has a high yield potential. This means that the variety can produce a significant amount of maize per acre, which can translate to higher profits for the farmer.
  • Pest and disease resistance: Maize is susceptible to various pests and diseases that can significantly reduce the harvest. Farmers should choose a variety that is resistant to common pests and diseases in their region to minimize losses.
  • Maturity period: The maturity period of a maize variety is also a crucial factor to consider. Some varieties take longer to mature than others, and this can affect the planting season and the overall harvest. Farmers should choose a variety that matures within the planting season to avoid losses due to late maturity.

By considering these factors, farmers can make informed decisions when choosing the best maize variety to plant. It is also advisable to consult with agricultural experts and other farmers in the region to get recommendations on the most suitable varieties for the local conditions.

Top 5 Best Maize Varieties In Kenya

Maize is a staple crop in Kenya, and farmers are always looking for the best varieties to plant for maximum yield. Here are the top 5 best maize varieties in Kenya, based on their yield potential, resistance to pests and diseases, and suitability to different regions.

Variety Maturity Yield Potential Suitable Regions
KDV1 3-4 months 12 bags per acre Dryland areas (altitude 1000-1800m above sea level)
SC 403 4-5 months 30-35 bags per acre Coastal region, lowland areas
DK 8031 4-5 months 30-35 bags per acre Highland areas, Nyanza, Western, Rift Valley
Pannar 691 4-5 months 30-35 bags per acre Highland areas, Nyanza, Western, Rift Valley
Pannar 43 3-4 months 20-25 bags per acre Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Central, Eastern

KDV1 is a popular variety in dryland areas due to its high yield potential and short maturity period. It is also resistant to pests and diseases, making it a low-maintenance option for farmers in these regions.

Also Read: H9401 Maize Variety 

maize harvesting
maize harvesting

SC 403 is a good choice for farmers in the coastal region and lowland areas due to its high yield potential and resistance to pests and diseases such as maize streak virus and stem borers.

DK 8031 and Pannar 691 are both high-yielding varieties suitable for highland areas, Nyanza, Western, and Rift Valley regions. They are also resistant to pests and diseases such as maize streak virus and gray leaf spot.

Pannar 43 is a versatile variety suitable for multiple regions, including Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Central, and Eastern. It has a shorter maturity period than DK 8031 and Pannar 691, making it a good option for farmers who want a quicker turnaround time.


Choosing the right maize variety is crucial for a successful harvest. While there are many varieties available in Kenya, it is important to consider the agro-ecological region, soil fertility, and planting methods before making a decision.

Hybrid maize varieties have been shown to have higher yields and better resistance to pests and diseases. However, they may require more inputs and management compared to open-pollinated varieties.

It is also important to note that good management practices such as timely land preparation, proper weeding, and adequate fertilization can greatly improve maize yields regardless of the variety planted.

Overall, farmers should conduct thorough research and seek advice from agricultural experts before selecting a maize variety to plant. By choosing the right variety and implementing good management practices, farmers can increase their yields and ultimately improve their livelihoods.

Also Read: Maize Farming In Kenya

Sources: Ojiem, J. O., J. K. Ransom, and H. W. Wakhonya. “Performance of hybrid and local maize with and without fertilizer in Western Kenya.” 5. Proceedings of the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Maize Conference, Arusha (Tanzania), 3-7 Jun 1996. CIMMYT, 1997. Link: https://agris.fao.org/agris-search/search.do?recordID=QY1998000123

Schroeder, C., et al. “Potentials of hybrid maize varieties for small-holder farmers in Kenya: a review based on Swot analysis.” African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development 13.2 (2013). Link: https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajfand/article/view/87480

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John Kamau is a highly experienced agriculture expert based in Kenya. He holds a degree in Agriculture from the University of Nairobi and has over 15 years of experience in the field. Throughout his career, John has been committed to promoting sustainable agriculture practices in Kenya. He has worked with small-scale farmers in rural communities to improve their crop yields, implement irrigation systems, and adopt environmentally friendly farming practices. John is also an expert in the use of technology in agriculture. He has worked with organizations to develop mobile applications that help farmers access information about weather patterns, market prices, and best practices for crop management. In addition to his work in Kenya, John has also been involved in agricultural projects in other African countries, including Tanzania and Uganda. He has served as a consultant for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and has been recognized for his work with numerous awards.


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