Productivity and profitability of maize-legume cropping systems under conservation agriculture among smallholder farmers in Malawi

Ngwira, A R and Kabambe, V and Simwaka, P and Makoko, K and Kamoyo, K (2020) Productivity and profitability of maize-legume cropping systems under conservation agriculture among smallholder farmers in Malawi. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B — Soil & Plant Science (TSI). pp. 1-11. ISSN 0906-4710

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A study was conducted from 2014 to 2017 in Malawi to elucidate the short-term effects of maize-legume intercropping and rotation systems under conservation agriculture (CA) and conventional tillage (CT) on crop productivity and profitability. Twelve farmers hosted on-farm trials per district, in three districts, with each farmer having six plots. The design of the study was randomised complete block design arranged in a split plot fashion with tillage as main plot and cropping systems as sub-plots, with each farmer acting as a replicate. CA had 1400 and 3200 kg ha−1 more maize grain yield in the second and third seasons, respectively compared with CT. In the first two seasons, CT had 310, 180 and 270 kg ha−1 more cowpea, soybean and pigeon pea grain yields in Salima, Mzimba and Mangochi districts, respectively, compared with CA. Similarly, CA had 1100 and 950 kg ha−1 more groundnut grain yields than CT in Salima and Mzimba districts in the second and third seasons, respectively. Over the three-year study period, partial land equivalent ratio for maize ranged from 0.78 to 1.24. Largest net returns were achieved by intercropping maize with pigeon pea in Mangochi and rotating maize and groundnut in Mzimba and Salima districts.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : East & Southern Africa
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Conservation agriculture, maize yield, intercropping, crop rotation, partial land, equivalent ratio, net returns
Subjects: Others > Smallholder Farmers
Mandate crops > Groundnut
Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Others > Maize
Others > Legume Crops
Others > Malawi
Depositing User: Mr Arun S
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2020 06:21
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2020 06:21
Official URL:
Funders: World Bank through Agricultural Productivity Programme for Southern Africa (APPSA)
Acknowledgement: We thank the farmers and Agricultural Extension Development Officers (AEDO) of Ntiya, Manyamula, Zombwe, Chinguluwe and Tembwe EPAs for their enthusiasm, collaboration and support during the project implementation phase. This work was implemented as part of the CGIAR CRP Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals. For details please visit The views expressed in this document cannot be taken to reflect the official opinions of these organisations.
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