Participatory trials and farmers' social realities: understanding the adoption of legume technologies in a Malawian farmer community

T. Pircher, C.J.M. Almekinders, B.C.G. Kamanga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article presents results from a study exploring the reasons for low adoption of legume technologies to improve soil fertility by farmers from a community in central Malawi who took part in participatory trials. This study explores the influence of gender roles in agriculture and land ownership and socio-economic differentiation in the community. Because most women do not own land and are traditionally responsible for legume crops, they have little interest in managing soil fertility for maize crops. Men are not interested in using legumes in maize-cropping systems. Some are too poor: this group needs to complement their subsistence maize production with paid labour on the farms of better-off farmers; restricting the labour availability for their own farming activities. Wealthier farmers have access to, and prefer to use chemical fertilizer and cattle manure. Take-up rates among the middle group of farmers were also low. This study discusses how these (and other) factors influence the (non-)adoption of maize-legume technologies in Malawi and the effectiveness of participatory research. It emphasizes how differentiated farmer-realities affect the uptake of technologies identified as promising in participatory field evaluations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-263
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • soil fertility management
  • africa
  • poverty
  • improvement
  • lessons
  • crop

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