Intensification across household-farm types in Malawi Case Study

In order to apply our framework to concrete empirical examples, we have undertaken two illustrative case studies that illustrate how better analytic tools can provide enhanced decision-support for country-level stakeholders. The chief case study that we are currently engaged in is described, briefly, below.

In this case study, we are using data from the AfricaRISING project – a USAID-funded project focused on sustainable agricultural intensification in Africa – to capture key impacts of (and trade-offs around) intensification across various farm-household types. We use detailed household-level information on farm production, input usage and consumption to create a bio-economic model that links the biophysical dimensions of crop production, soil quality and key inputs (fertilizer, water, labor, etc) with a socio-economic representation of household-level decision-making about production and consumption activities. This framework will allow us to explore the implications of different intensification strategies – such as increased use of irrigation, yield-enhancing fertilizer or changes in farm practices – with respect to their impacts on household income, consumption levels and overall welfare. The effects on soil quality will also be simulated, and special attention will be paid to the constraints that different household-types face in adopting these strategies – particularly with respect to gender. We are using this to help stakeholders in Malawi assess where best to target extension support, infrastructure improvements, and to evaluate programs that are already being considered for their potential impact and effectiveness.

The following is a video presentation outlining the Malawi case study presented at the Farm Systems Design Conference in Montpellier, France in September, 2015. Click Here.