Characterizing the adopters of sustainable intensification innovations in Malawi and Tanzania
At this week’s international conference on Integrated Systems Research for Sustainable Intensification in Smallholder Agriculture, Jeroen Groot presented a poster on behalf of IFPRI colleagues on Africa RISING work to characterize the adopters of sustainable intensification innovations in Malawi and Tanzania.
Supporting the world’s projected nine billion people by 2050 necessitates increased production of food, feed, and bioenergy sources. This in turn is expected to put significant pressure on the environment and natural resources on which millions of poor people rely heavily and directly for their livelihoods.
Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING) is a research-for-development program that aims to create opportunities for smallholder farmers to move out of hunger and poverty through sustainable intensification of their farming systems.
Given the program’s focus on demand-driven innovations that are likely to identify best-bet interventions to reach the highest possible number of beneficiaries, successful scaling up of the program necessitates evidence on what works and for whom. Using geographic information systems and household survey data from two of the program countries – Malawi and Tanzania – we examine the characteristics of villages and households targeted by the program and compare them with non-program villages and households randomly selected from the general population. We find target villages to differ from non-target villages along some biophysical and economic dimensions, such as access to market and agricultural extension services.
We find beneficiaries in both countries to differ from non-beneficiaries along several dimensions. We find beneficiaries to be better educated, have larger family size, own more farm and household durable assets, have bigger land size, are more likely to own livestock, and have better quality housing, among other things.
Beneficiaries also used more agricultural inputs, were more likely to practice inter-cropping and crop rotation and had higher yields in the previous harvesting season. These findings highlight the need to rethink targeting criteria for Africa RISING and other systems-based innovations, something that could potentially bear severe implications upon scaling up. Not only could adoption rates of agricultural innovations be low, but subsequent outputs and outcomes may not be as high when being scaled up to the broader population that may not be as well-off.
The co-authors of the poster are: Beliyou Haile, Carlo Azzarri and Cleo Roberts (IFPRI)
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