Improving efficiency of knowledge and technology diffusion using community seed banks and farmer‑to‑farmer extension: experiences from Malawi

Okori, P and Munthali, W and Msere, H and Charlie, H and Chitaya, S and Sichali, F and Chilumpha, E and Chirwa, T and Seetha, A and Chinyamuyamu, B and Monyo, E and Siambi, M and Chirwa, R (2022) Improving efficiency of knowledge and technology diffusion using community seed banks and farmer‑to‑farmer extension: experiences from Malawi. Agriculture & Food Security (TSI), 11. 01-14. ISSN 2048-7010

[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License ["licenses_description_cc_attribution" not defined].

Download (1MB)


Background: Agri-innovations are mostly delivered to farmers through private and public sector-led institutions around the world, with various degrees of success in Malawi. These distribution systems, on the other hand, do not meet everyone’s production and productivity needs, particularly those of smallholder farmers. Alternative gap-filling systems are therefore required. Over the course of 7 years, we performed two studies in Malawi to assess the efficiency of integrated farmer led agri-innovation delivery mechanisms, in order to advise programming and delivery improvements. The first study looked at the impact of farmer-led technology delivery on agricultural output and productivity. It was split into two phases: learning (2010–2015) and scaling-out (2016–2019). The second study looked at how smallholder farmers changed their behaviour, after receiving instruction during the scaling-out phase. A farmerled social network, community seed banks, was used as the research platform. Results: The number of farmers who had access to improved seed increased by 35-fold from 2.4% in the baseline year. Groundnut, the major study crop, had a 1.8-fold increase in productivity. In sorghum, and common bean, the difference in grain yield between beneficiaries and control populations was 19% and 30%, respectively. The lowest aflatoxin contamination was found in groundnut grain samples from trained farmers, showing that learning had occurred, with three training sessions sufficient for initiating and sustaining adoption of agri-innovations. Conclusions: Many developing country economies have limited investments in agricultural extension and advisory services, and as well as inefficient agri-input delivery systems, limiting access to science solutions needed to boost productivity. The farmer-led technology and knowledge dissemination systems examined in this research, are appropriate for a variety farming contexts, especially for crops underinvested by private sector, and where public extension and advisory services are poorly funded.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Global Research Program - Enabling Systems Transformation
Research Program : East & Southern Africa
Uncontrolled Keywords: Agri-innovations, Cereals, Extension-service, Farmer led, Knowledge, Legumes, Informal seed systems
Subjects: Others > Innovation
Others > Cereals
Others > Agricultural Extension
Others > Legume Crops
Depositing User: Mr Nagaraju T
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2023 03:21
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2023 03:21
Official URL: https://agricultureandfoodsecurity.biomedcentral.c...
Funders: Irish Aid, USAID, McKnight Foundation
Acknowledgement: The authors acknowledge the support provided by all public extension officers in the Extension Planning Areas (EPAs) of: Kasungu EPAs—Chipala and Lisasadzi; Lilongwe EPAs—Chileka, Mitundu, Ukwe, Chitsime, Chigonthi and Malingunde; MchinjiEPAs—Mkanda, Mlonyeni, Zulu and Msitu; Mzimba EPA’s—Bwengu, Zombwe, Emfeni, Luwelezi, Mbawa and Mjinge and Nkhotakota EPA—Linga; Dowa EPA—Dzoole; Dedza EPAs—Linthipe Golomoti, Lobi and Mtakataka; Chikhwawa EPA- Dolo, Mitole and Kalamba; Nsanje EPA—Nyachilenda and Makhanga; Chitipa EPAs—Misuku and Kameme; Rumphi EPAs—Bolere and Mhuju; Balaka EPAs—Phalula, Bazale and Rivirivi; Karonga EPAs Vinthutukutu and Lupembe We are also grateful for the leadership and technical services provided by field extension staff of NASFAM from the following Associations—Nkhotakota—Linga North and Linga South; Mzimba—Elangeni, Luwasozi and Luwasozi and Mchinji —Kalulu and Mikundi. We thank the leadership of Ekwendeni Mission Hospital, “Malawi Farmer-to-Farmer Agroecology (MaFFA) project, especially Ms Lizzie Shumba, who supported research activities in Mzimba. Finally, we thank the following ICRISAT field officers: Christopher Kachusa, Napthali Mbale, Chisomo Ngombe and Sidney Kanyenda who supported the research. Analysis of aflatoxin was done by Nelson Kumwenda and Joseph Maruo both formerly of ICRISAT. The following research assistants supported data collection and the team is grateful for their work, i.e. Madalitso Chiphiko, Gift Twanje, Linda Chavula, Roselyn Kasunda and Emmanuel Mtambalika. The support by farmers who participated in the research is acknowledged. Graphics were prepared by Lawrence Lazarus formerly of ICRISAT.
View Statistics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item