Posts Tagged ‘Malawi.’

Production risks and food security under alternative technology choices in Malawi: application of a multinomial endogenous switching regression

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2014.

Kassie, M.; Adefris Teklewold; Marenya, P.; Jaleta Debello Moti; Erenstein, O.

Employing nationally representative data, we investigate the impact of Sustainable Intensification Practices (SIPs) on farm households’ food security, downside risk and the cost of risk in Malawi. The analysis relies on a flexible moment-based specification of a stochastic production function in a multinomial endogenous switching regression framework to correct for the selection bias stemming both from observed and unobserved heterogeneity. A quantile moment approach is used to estimate the cost of risk. After controlling for the effects of unobserved heterogeneity and several observable variables on maize production and downside risk functions, estimation results show that the adoption of SIPs increases food security and reduces downside risk exposure and the cost of risk. We estimate greater food security and larger reduction in downside risk from simultaneous adoption of both crop diversification (maize–legume intercropping and rotations) and minimum tillage, suggesting that there are complementary benefits from these practices. We find most of the cost of risk comes from exposure to downside risk. Our findings imply that in dealing with production risks development agents should encourage the adoption of agronomic and resource-management practices along with other risk mitigation and food security improving strategies.

Measuring the impacts of Malawi’s farm input subsidy programme

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in African Journal of Agriculture and Resource Economics  9 (2) : 132-147, 2014

Chibwana, C.Shively, G.Fisher, M.Jumbe, C.;Masters, W.

We measured the farm-level impacts of Malawi’s Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) on fertiliser  use and maize yields in central and southern Malawi. Using multiple rounds of panel data and an instrumental variable regression strategy to control for endogenous selection into the subsidy programme, we found positive and statistically significant correlations between participation in the FISP and fertiliser-use intensity. The results are broadly robust to the inclusion of previous fertilizer intensity to control for household-specific differences in fertiliser use. We combined these results with those from a maize production function to calculate programme-generated changes in average maize availability, accounting for estimated subsidy-induced changes in crop area. Our findings have implications for the way input subsidy programmes are designed and implemented.

Can agricultural input subsidies reduce the gender gap in modern maize adoption? Evidence from Malawi

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Food Policy 45 : 101-111, 2014

Fisher, M.; Kandiwa, V.

Nationally representative data for Malawi were used to measure the gender gap in adoption of modern maize and to investigate how, if at all, Malawi’s Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) has impacted the gap. Regression results show the probability of adopting modern maize was 12% lower for wives in male-headed households, and 11% lower for female household heads, than for male farmers. Receipt of subsidized input coupons had no discernible effect on modern maize adoption for male farmers. Receiving a subsidy for both seed and fertilizer increased the probability of modern maize cultivation by 222% for female household heads, suggesting the FISP has likely reduced the gender gap in adoption of modern maize in Malawi.

Adoption potential of Conservation Agriculture practices in Sub-Saharan Africa: Results from five case studies

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Environmental Management, 2013

Ndah, H.T.; Schuler, J.; Uthes, S.; Zander, P.; Traore, K.; Gama, M.-S.; Nyagumbo, I.; Triomphe, B.; Sieber, S.; Corbeels, M.

Despite the reported benefits of conservation agriculture (CA), its wider up-scaling in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has remained fairly limited. This paper shows how a newly developed qualitative expert assessment approach for CA adoption (QAToCA) was applied to determine its adoption potential in SSA. CA adoption potential is not a predictor of observed adoption rates. Instead, our aim was to systematically check relevant factors that may be influencing its adoption. QAToCA delivers an assessment of how suitable conditions “and thus the likelihood for CA adoption” are. Results show that the high CA adoption potentials exhibited by the Malawi and Zambia case relate mostly to positive institutional factors. On the other hand, the low adoption potential of the Zimbabwe case, in spite of observed higher estimates, is attributed mainly to unstable and less secured market conditions for CA. In the case of Southern Burkina Faso, the potential for CA adoption is determined to be high, and this assessment deviates from lower observed figures. This is attributed mainly to strong competition of CA and livestock for residues in this region. Lastly, the high adoption potential found in Northern Burkina Faso is explained mainly by the fact that farmers here have no alternative other than to adopt the locally adapted CA system—Zaï farming. Results of this assessment should help promoters of CA in the given regions to reflect on their activities and to eventually adjust or redesign them based on a more explicit understanding of where problems and opportunities are found.

What are the farm-level impacts of Malawi’s farm input subsidy program? A critical review

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Agricultural Economics, 2013

Lunduka, R.; Ricker-Gilbert, J.; Fisher, M.

This article provides a critical analysis of the current frontier of research evaluating Malawi’s Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP), whose main objectives are increasing maize production, promoting household food security, and enhancing rural incomes. We focus on farm-level studies in Malawi, identifying consistent and contrasting research results in order to draw important policy lessons and provide suggested avenues for future research. While national production estimates suggested dramatic increases in maize production and productivity during the years of the FISP, the farm-level studies found relatively modest increases in maize production and yields over the same period. Consistent with the farm-level results of modest maize production increases, there has been a relative increase in real maize prices and the country continued to import maize during most of the subsidy program years. Furthermore, there is evidence that better-off households gained substantially more than poorer households when they participated in the program. Together these findings cast some doubt on the FISP’s ability to reduce food insecurity and poverty. We propose a number of policy lessons and suggestions for rigorous investigation, including research that directly measures the causal impacts of the FISP program on poverty in Malawi.

Household, community, and policy determinants of food insecurity in rural Malawi

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Development Southern Africa 30 (4-5) : 451-467, 2013

Fisher, M.; Lewin, P.A.

This study examines how socio-economic characteristics of households, local conditions, and public programmes are associated with the probability that a farm household in rural Malawi is food insecure. The statistical analysis uses nationally representative data for 8350 randomly-selected households interviewed during 2004/05 for the second Malawi Integrated Household Survey. Regressions are estimated separately for households in the north, centre, and south of Malawi to account for spatial heterogeneity. Results of a multilevel logit model reveal that households are less likely to be food insecure if they have larger cultivated land per capita, receive agricultural field assistance, reside in a community with an agricultural cooperative and relatively high annual rainfall, and are headed by an individual with a high school degree. Factors that positively correlate with household food insecurity are price of maize, price of fertiliser, number of household members, and distance to markets. Implications of these findings for policy are discussed.

From adoption claims to understanding farmers and contexts: A literature review of Conservation Agriculture (CA) adoption among smallholder farmers in southern Africa

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 2013

Andersson, J.A.; D’Souza, S.

This literature review of Conservation Agriculture (CA) adoption among smallholder farmers in southern Africa (Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe) analyses the historical background of the upsurge in CA promotion, the various definitions of CA that have emerged since the 1990s, the barriers to its adoption, as well as uptake figures and adoption studies. First tested as soil and water conservation measures, large-scale promotion followed a reframing of CA as a production-enhancing set of practices. Different definitions of what constitutes and is promoted as CA in southern Africa complicates the assessment of adoption across the region, while a commonly used, reductionist notion of CA adoption – as the uptake of minimum tillage – in adoption data collection, casts doubts on the validity of adoption figures. As CA uptake is often also incentivized by means of input support (fertilizers, seeds, herbicides) provided by promotional projects, adoption claims have limited value. Current CA adoption studies are methodologically weak as they are biased by the promotional project context in which are carried out, and build on farm-scale analyses of standard household surveys. A more thorough analysis of farming households and their resource allocation strategies is required to understand the farm-level adoption constraints different types of farmers face. As contextual factors appear key influences on smallholders’ farming practices, studies focusing on the wider market, institutional and policy context are also needed if we are to understand (limited) CA adoption in southern Africa.

Could farmer interest in a diversity of seed attributes explain adoption plateaus for modern maize varieties in Malawi?

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Food Policy 37 (5): 504-510, 2012

Rodney Lunduka, Monica Fisher and Sieglinde Snapp

This study uses new data from a household survey (n = 179) in Mulanje District, Malawi to examine whether the observed adoptionplateaus for modernmaizevarieties in Malawi partly reflect farmerinterest in adiversity of maizeseedattributes. Regression results for the study area indicate that specific attributes of different maizevarieties are an important influence on their use. The benefits to growing hybrid maize appear to be yield and drought tolerance. Open pollinated varieties are selected by farmers who value early maturity. Local maizevarieties are popular among farm households owing to a number of favourable processing and consumption characteristics: storability, poundability, flour-to-grain ratio, and taste. Further research using nationally representative data is needed to assess whether findings for Mulanje District can be generalized to Malawi as a whole. If future studies agree with the results herein then maize breeding research programs in Malawi should consider adiversity of traits beyond grain yield to encompass the range of production, processing, and consumption attributes that are valued by farmers.


Using innovation platforms to scale out soil acidity-ameliorating technologies in Dedza district in central Malawi

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Published in African Journal of Biotechnology 11(3): 561-569, 2012

V. H Kabambe, A. D. C. Chilimba, A. Ngwira, M. Mbawe, G. Kambauwaand P. Mapfumo

Soil acidity is a serious constraint in crop production in some parts of Malawi, particularly in high rainfall and high altitude areas. A learning platform was established in Bembeke Extension Planning Area (EPA) (14° 21′ E and 34° 21′ S, 1650 masl, normal annual rainfall of 1300 to 1500 mm) in Dedza District to scale out lime applications as amendments to low pH soils. In 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 seasons, 36 and 150 two-plot trials, respectively were established to serve as learning centers for the comparison of application of 2 t/ha of dolomitic lime to no application in maize (Zea mays L.) crop fertilized at 69:21:0+4S. In 2007/2008 season, a similar study compared application of compost manures. Application of lime increased (P < 0.05) maize yields from 3.58 to 4.68 t/ha in 2006/2007 and 3.35 to 4.2 t/ha in 2007/2008. In 2007/2008, the residual effects of lime increased (P < 0.05) yields of maize and beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). An innovation platform comprising of farmers, government and NGO extension and researchers organized exchange tours and end of season review meetings. The number of farmers hosting the learning centers grew from 36 to 150 due to the IP interactions. At the end of the project support in 2008, the participating farmers were willing to invest in the technology and raised funds for purchase of lime, assisted by government extension. The IP was unable to effectively engage any agri-input dealer to follow up on the demand on lime expressed by farmers. Application of compost manure increased maize yields from 4.25 to 5.84 t/ha, compared to 2.31 t/ha as practiced by farmers.