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Title: Smallholder farmers' dis-adoption of agricultural technologies : the case of conservation agriculture in Malawi
Author: Chinseu, Edna Loga
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 0661
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2018
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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.
Supervisor: Stringer, L. C. ; Dougill, A. J. Sponsor: Commonwealth Scholarship Commission ; Sustainable Agriculture Bursary ; University of Leeds
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available