Socioeconomic Assessment of Pigeonpea and Groundnut Production Conditions – Farmer Technology Choice, Market Linkages, Institutions and Poverty in Rural Malawi. Market Institution and Policy Research Report no.6

Simtowe, F and Asfaw, S and Shiferaw, B and Siambi, M and Monyo, E and Muricho, G and Abate, T and Silim, S and Ganga Rao, N V P R and Madzonga, Oswin (2010) Socioeconomic Assessment of Pigeonpea and Groundnut Production Conditions – Farmer Technology Choice, Market Linkages, Institutions and Poverty in Rural Malawi. Market Institution and Policy Research Report no.6. Monograph. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics , Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh, India.

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This study was conducted as part of a series of country-specific baseline assessments, to provide a broad overview of the production, market and socioeconomic conditions, and the constraints and opportunities in the farming systems. In Malawi the main legumes of interest are groundnut and pigeonpea; consequently, much of the analysis in this paper focuses on the two crops, while also providing a broad picture about other crops and livelihood strategies. The main users of this information are expected to be legume project scientists, planners, development agencies, and decision makers interested in the legume sub-sector in Malawi. We would particularly like to thank the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for financing the Treasure Legumes project, and for entrusting ICRISAT with this noble assignment of implementing the project, the outcome of which, among others, is a baseline report on the socioeconomic assessment of pigeonpea and groundnut production conditions, farmer technology choice, market linkages, institutions and poverty in rural Malawi. We would also like to acknowledge with thanks the technical support and guidance that was provided by the Centre for Agricultural Research and Development at Bunda College and the National Association for Smallholder Farmers (NASFAM) during the implementation of the baseline survey. We thank partners from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, for their continued support in implementing the project; the households that participated in the survey and the survey team members for the assistance they provided in collecting data and their cooperation throughout the survey. We would also like to acknowledge the contributions of Dr Isaac Minde, Kizito Mazvimavi and Menale Kassie towards the review of this publication.


The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (2008) reports that about 850 million people worldwide went hungry each year from the years 2002 to 2007. Furthermore, the United Nations (2008) reports, as the international financial crisis deepens, for the first time in history, one billion people were expected to go hungry in 2009. Agricultural growth is said to be the most effective means of addressing poverty. Consistent with this notion, the Department for International Development (2003) estimated that a 1% increase in agricultural productivity could reduce the percentage of poor people living on less than 1 dollar a day by between 0.6 and 2 percent. No other economic activity generates the same benefit for the poor. In Malawi, agriculture remains an important component of the economy; employing 85 percent of the labor force, accounting for about 39% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 83% of Malawi’s foreign exchange earnings (Chirwa 2007). The agricultural sector is subdivided into sub-sectors; estates and smallholder farmers. The latter accounts for 78% of the cultivated land and generates about 75% of Malawi’s total agricultural output, suggesting that Malawi’s agriculture is largely smallholder agriculture. More than 72% of the smallholder farms are less than one hectare, a size too small to achieve food self sufficiency at the household level with the current rudimentary farming methods. This notion is consistent with the Benin et al.(2008) report, that Malawi is the third most densely populated country in mainland sub-Saharan Africa (at 2.3 rural people per hectare of agricultural land) after Rwanda (3.8 people per hectare) and Burundi (2.7 people per hectare). Such small land holdings are a serious challenge to the transformation of Malawi’s agriculture. The principal crops grown in Malawi are maize, tea, sugarcane, groundnut, cotton...........

Item Type: Monograph (Monograph)
Subjects: Mandate crops > Pigeonpea
Mandate crops > Groundnut
Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Depositing User: Ms Vibha Raju
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2011 14:06
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2013 09:41
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