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Expectation Meets Reality: A Case Study of the Conservation Agriculture Intervention Programme in Nkhoma Mission, Malawi

Martin, Anjali (2018) Expectation Meets Reality: A Case Study of the Conservation Agriculture Intervention Programme in Nkhoma Mission, Malawi. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Conservation Agriculture (a three-practice intervention programme emphasising minimal tillage, crop rotation, and mulching) has been promoted as a sustainable, successful agricultural intervention programme in numerous countries. Yet, existing literature has only found Conservation Agriculture to have long-term success in tropical-environment countries. This thesis focuses on agricultural intervention programmes in the semi-arid country of Malawi,looking at smallholder farmers’ likelihood in adopting Conservation Agriculture, rates of success if Conservation Agriculture is adopted, and sustainability of the programme. Building off of literature in a global and national context, 115 smallholder farmers in Nkhoma Mission, Malawi answered semi-inductive interview and focus group questions.
Results show that when Conservation Agriculture is adopted, it is usually abandoned within five years because farmers felt progress was taking too long or they did not feel they had support from local experts to continue with the technique. Rather, the data concludes that farmers favour a programme known as Sasakawa, which encourages the incorporation of traditional farming practice with a slight reduction in the number of seeds used. Sasakawa saw more immediate success than Conservation Agriculture.
An adaptation of Conservation Agriculture called Farming God’s Way associates the three principles with being a good and Godly Christian. This adaptation saw the same results as Conservation Agriculture, but has a longer adoption rate before being abandoned. Farmers who try Conservation Agriculture saw success, but felt they were doing something wrong and were unable to ask questions to local experts.
Given the results of the data, recommendations for further research include creating universal definitions and an evaluative framework for cross-environment and cross-country comparisons of intervention programmes, establishing a sample farm in central Malawi for a
better long-term study on the success potential of Conservation Agriculture, Sasakawa, and Farming God’s Way, and increased collaboration between the various organisations and actors teaching agricultural practices to smallholder farmers in the Nkhoma Mission area.


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Details

Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Martin, Anjaliatm58@pitt.eduatm580000-002-9129-1370
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFinkel, Mugemfinkel@pitt.edumfinkel
Committee MemberNelson, Paulpjnelson@pitt.edupjnelson
Committee MemberSeybolt, Taylorseybolt@pitt.eduseybolt
Date: 1 June 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 29 November 2017
Approval Date: 1 June 2018
Submission Date: 24 March 2018
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 145
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs > Public and International Affairs
Degree: MPIA - Master of Public and International Affairs
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Agriculture, Malawi, Farming God's Way, International Development, Sasakawa, Africa, Case Study, Interview, Nkhoma Mission, Farming God's Way
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2018 19:56
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2018 19:56
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/33942

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