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Smallholder Farmers’ Dis-adoption of Agricultural Technologies: The Case of Conservation Agriculture in Malawi

Chinseu, Edna Loga (2018) Smallholder Farmers’ Dis-adoption of Agricultural Technologies: The Case of Conservation Agriculture in Malawi. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Chinseu_EL_Earth_and_Environment_PhD_2018.pdf - Final eThesis - complete (pdf)
Restricted until 1 July 2020.

Abstract

Dis-adoption of conservation agriculture (CA) remains a perplexing challenge in development efforts aiming to enhance sustainable agricultural production. While international development partners, governments and non-governmental organisations are actively promoting CA across sub-Saharan Africa, increasing evidence shows that farmers practice the technology for a short time, and then often dis-adopt. Due to limited scholarly attention to date, reasons for dis-adoption are not well known. Examining underlying reasons for smallholders’ dis-adoption is imperative to improve delivery of CA, achieve sustained adoption, improve agricultural production and ensure enduring impacts of agricultural development interventions more broadly. This research investigates why smallholders dis-adopt CA in Malawi by examining institutional arrangements of CA promoters, relevant national policies and farmers’ experiences and perception of CA. A mixed methods approach was used, involving key informant interviews, policy analysis, household questionnaire surveys, and focus group discussions across two study Districts. Findings reveal that complex, multi-dimensional and multi-layered drivers across the CA innovation system underlie CA dis-adoption decisions. Shortfalls in institutional arrangements play a critical role in dis-adoption as they promulgate unfavourable experiences and perceptions among farmers during CA implementation. Limited engagement of smallholders in project design and implementation diminishes local ownership and commitment while inadequate resources constrain extension service support. The study shows that smallholder farmers encounter various social, technological and economic challenges, which coupled with unfulfilled expectations, lead to dis-adoption. Findings suggest that to address CA dis-adoption in Malawi and similar contexts in sub-Saharan Africa, there is a need to: (1) collaboratively design projects to suit local needs, preferences and context; (2) emphasise environmental and climate resilience benefits of CA rather than economic benefits; (3) apply longer-term, flexible, low-cost and inclusive project management options; and (4) create an enabling policy and institutional environment for sustained CA adoption.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Earth and Environment (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Earth and Environment (Leeds) > Sustainability Research Institute (Leeds)
Depositing User: Mrs Edna Loga Chinseu
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2018 10:20
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 08:37
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20773

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