Socio-economic factors associated with the adoption of conservation agriculture among women farmers in Balaka District, Malawi
The study was conducted in Balaka District, Malawi among women farmers. The study focused on three research questions: What socio-economic factors are associated with the rate of adoption of conservation agriculture among women farmers in Balaka District, Malawi? What are the levels of adoption of conservation agriculture among women farmers in Balaka District, Malawi? What are the main sources of information for conservation agriculture among women farmers in Balaka District, Malawi that lead to adoption of CA? Quantitative data were collected using a door-to-door survey. The survey was verbally administered to 60 women farmers. Qualitative data were collected through informal interviews with five women farmers, which provided more in-depth data. Findings revealed availability of farm labor, access to farmer trainings on CA, farm size, source of information, education level, access to farm inputs, age, membership to a farmer group and visits by the Extension worker are positively associated with adoption of CA. Conversely, inadequate knowledge on CA, inadequate number of Extension workers in the area, inadequate resources to buy farm inputs and small land holding sizes are negatively associated with adoption of CA. Among these women farmers, 47% adopted CA with the major sources of information on CA being Extension workers, village meetings, friends and the radio. The six major themes that emerged from the informal interviews were grouped into two categories of factors that are positively associated with adoption of CA and those that are negatively associated with adoption of CA. It was found that the qualitative results were related to those found quantitatively. It was found that regarding adoption of conservation agriculture an inadequate number of Extension workers and lack of inputs affect women farmers negatively. Four recommendations were made. First, the Malawi government should recruit more Extension workers to reduce the knowledge gap present among farmers. Second, there is a need for subsidizing the price of the inputs package for CA in order to increase its adoption. Third, the Malawi government should help communities gain access to loan facilities. Fourth, Extension workers should increase utilization of the farmers' groups in order to facilitate dissemination of information about new technologies. More training on CA should be provided to the farmers through their groups in order to increase the adoption rate.
Talbert, Purdue University.
Womens studies|Agricultural education|South African Studies
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