A qualitative evaluation of gender aspects of agricultural intensification practices in central Malawi
This evaluation report (PDF) by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Africa RISING aims to provide guidance in understanding gender dynamics in central Malawi. This is needed to improve gender integration in agronomic practices and technologies being promoted by Africa RISING. Focus group discussions were held with 148 male and female farmers and complemented by key informant interviews. As to how male and female farmers evaluate new agricultural practices, results showed that female farmers tended to evaluate technologies in terms of household food security (going beyond just maize availability), while male farmers more often opted for technologies/varieties that are demanded by the market. With regards to preferences for adoption of specific technologies promoted by the project, both female and male farmers mentioned a preference for adopting intercropping and doubled-up legumes, among others. However, men and women differed in their choice of crop combinations. Most study participants, particularly females, appreciated the mother and baby trial extension approach of Africa RISING as opposed to the government extension demonstrations. The former allows farmers to learn and practice on the mother plot and implement the technology in their own fields within the same season. The findings of this study make a strong case for the need for projects implementing research and development activities to gain in-depth understanding of gender dynamics and relations at household and community levels as a starting point for ensuring effective uptake of technologies.