The 30% of farmers who wanted to try another type were those seeking to experiment with new seed types. Furthermore, the fact that 40% of farmers reported changing because they lost seeds highlights the fact that many farmers have relatively small populations of beans, with an output equivalent to a one- or two-month food supply.

3.5 Socioeconomic characteristics—average number of varieties

As discussed above, there are a variety of possible socioeconomic factors that may cause the household to plant a greater number of milpa varieties. A preliminary approach is to divide the sample into relevant sub-samples. For a series of socioeconomic characteristics, the sample median was calculated and used to divide the sample into households above and below the median. Table 7-10 presents three household variables—age, family size, and wealth—which may affect the number of varieties planted by a household. In Table 7-10, the average number of maize varieties grown is slightly larger for those households with an older household head, with a larger number of adult family members. Both of these categories present results that may be expected, but for neither category are the means significantly different. The mean number of maize varieties is significantly lower for wealthier farmers. This agrees with the hypothesis generated by the household model that households with a higher level of wealth have less of a need to self-insure through a crop portfolio.

Table 7-10. Mean number of varieties for household subsamples

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