Adoption of agroforestry and the impact on household food security among farmers in Malawi uri icon

abstract

  • Agroforestry is increasingly regarded as an important adaptation and mitigation strategy against climate change.In particular, the use of fertilizer trees has been promoted as a practice that contributes to improved soil fertilitythrough nitrogen fixation, by increasing supply of nutrients for crop production. While a lot of the evidence onthe impact of fertilizer trees relies on on-farm experiments and correlational analysis, there is a paucity ofrigorous evidence under actual smallholder farming conditions. This paper analyzes the impacts of adoptingfertilizer trees such as Gliricidia sepium and Faidherbia albida on household food security. We draw on survey dataof 338 farmers in Malawi and use an endogenous switching regression to rigorously analyze adoption impacts.Econometric results show that use of fertilizer tree adoption increases the value of food crops by 35%.Disaggregation of the impacts through stratification by land ownership further reveal that farmers with smallerfarms of up to 2 acres realize the highest gains. Furthermore, fertilizer tree use in conjunction with improvedmaize seed also significantly increased value of food crops. This study offers preliminary insights that contributeto an emerging field of research on quantitative assessment of agricultural interventions such as agroforestrypractices using novel analytical approaches. We provide some policy insights and recommend the need for futureresearch to be designed around development initiatives that consider fine-scale variation in social, economic andecological context of farmers to improve uptake and adaptation to realize the full potential of agroforestry inimproving soil fertility and household food security

publication date

  • 2017