Evaluating the merits of climate smart technologies under smallholder agriculture in Malawi

Nyagumbo, I and Mutenje, M and Setimela, P and Chipindu, L and Chisaka, A and Simwaka, P and Mwale, B and Ngwira, A and Mupangwa, W (2021) Evaluating the merits of climate smart technologies under smallholder agriculture in Malawi. Soil Use and Management (TSI). pp. 1-17. ISSN 0266-0032

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The merits of three climate smart agriculture (CSA) technologies implemented by farmers were assessed in Machinga district of Malawi with respect to their soil quality and maize yield effects. Data were collected from farms implementing the three CSA technologies, namely conservation agriculture (CA), maize–pigeonpea (Maize-PP) intercrops and a local organic and inorganic soil amendment known as Mbeya fertilization (Mbeya-fert), from 2018 to 2019. With respect to resilience and adaptation, particulate organic matter, soil organic carbon (SOC), N, P, K, Ca and Mg all significantly improved while bulk densities were lowered under the three CSA systems. Higher annual biomass inputs and improved water infiltration from the Maize-PP intercrops were observed. With respect to productivity, CA and Mbeya-fert improved maize yields by 51 and 19%, respectively, compared to conventional farmer practices. With regard to climate change mitigation, increases in measured SOC in the top 20 cm depth compared to the conventional farmer practices amounted to 6.5, 12 and 10.5 t C ha−1 for CA, Mbeya-fert, and Maize-PP intercrops, respectively, over a period of 2–6 years. This suggests higher potential for carbon sequestration from CSA technologies. Furthermore, use of drought tolerant varieties, timely weeding and optimum plant populations, increased productivity. Improved gross margins from CSA practices were also apparent. Thus, employing these CSA technologies could enable farmers to be more resilient, productive and adapt better to climate change shocks leading to improved food security and livelihoods.

Item Type: Article
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Conservation agriculture, Gross margin, Intercrops, Maize yield, Soil organic matter
Subjects: Others > Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA)
Others > Maize
Others > Malawi
Depositing User: Mr Arun S
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2021 08:56
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2021 08:56
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/11763
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/sum.12715
Acknowledgement: The authors of this report gratefully acknowledge the financial contributions of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that enabled CIMMYT to implement this study. We also acknowledge Tetra Tech and the rest of the PERFORM project team for the support and guidance rendered that enabled these studies to be conducted. Amos Ngwira acknowledges salary support from the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC) which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors
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