Modeling agroforestry adoption and household decision making in Malawi

Type Journal Article - African studies quarterly
Title Modeling agroforestry adoption and household decision making in Malawi
Volume 6
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2002
Page numbers 271-293
Low resource farmers make decisions about adopting new technologies as part
of the overall strategy for ensuring subsistence and cash income for their food security
needs. This paper reports on a study conducted in Kasungu, Malawi, southern Africa, to
evaluate the potential for small-scale farmers to adopt improved fallows. Simulations of
two representative households, a male and a female headed, were carried out using
dynamic ethnographic linear programming (ELP) in a ten-year model. Results show that
the adoption pattern for improved fallows is driven by the amount of land and labor
available rather than the gender of the household head. Female-headed households with
insufficient labor may hire labor for other cropping activities, which enables them to
plant improved fallows. Furthermore, simulations show that when households are able
to sell seed from the woody species in the fallow, both male and female households stop
taking credit for fertilizer for their cash crop. They still grow the cash crop, in this case
tobacco, but produce most of their maize without chemical fertilizers. It is concluded that
in Kasungu, Malawi, improved fallows will be adopted in households with sufficient
land and labor.

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