Adoption of agroforestry and the impact on household food security among farmers in Malawi
This article in the Agricultural Systems Journal analyzes the impacts of adopting fertilizer trees such as Gliricidia sepium and Faidherbia albida on household food security. Agroforestry is increasingly regarded as an important adaptation and mitigation strategy against climate change. In particular, the use of fertilizer trees has been promoted as a practice that contributes to improved soil fertility through nitrogen fixation, by increasing supply of nutrients for crop production. While a lot of the evidence on the impact of fertilizer trees relies on on-farm experiments and correlation analysis, there is a some rigorous evidence under actual smallholder farming conditions. This study draws on survey data of 338 farmers in Malawi and uses an endogenous switching regression to rigorously analyze adoption impacts. Results show that use of fertilizer tree adoption increases the value of food crops by 35% and that farmers with smaller farms of up to 2 acres realize the highest gains. Furthermore, fertilizer tree use in conjunction with improved maize seed also significantly increased value of food crops. The study offers preliminary insights that contribute to an emerging field of research on quantitative assessment of agricultural interventions such as agroforestry practices using novel analytical approaches.
This article is based on a working paper which can be found here.