Revitalizing African Agriculture.


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Presentation for the World Agroforestry Congress 2014 in New Delhi. Revitalizing African Agriculture from the Ground up.

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  • and goals? Finally, if this is a valid use of resources, how can we expand adoption?
  • Revitalizing African Agriculture.

    1. 1. Revitalizing African agriculture from the ground up: A case study of soil fertility, fertilizer subsidy, and agroforestry World Agroforestry Congress 2014, Delhi, India
    2. 2. Why Malawi?   Lack of access to food and cash for rural smallholders in SE Africa Fertilizer is extremely expensive in these settings and does not treat underlying soil fertility issues
    3. 3. The Agroforestry System  Faidherbia albida  Indigenous  Intercropped, fertilizer tree  Increases maize yields  Experimental success
    4. 4. Study Goals  Should farmers implement this technology? Are the incentives right? Question 1: Can the intercropping system be associated with higher maize yields outside of an experimental setting?  Question 2: Is this system compatible with farmer resources and goals?   Question 3: If this is a valid use of resources, how can adoption be expanded?
    5. 5. Data  Household survey of 390 farmers holding 497 fields  Two districts, 30 days of field work  Supported by ICRAF, Malawi Department of Forestry, NCSU  Quantitative data and open-ended questions
    6. 6. Question 1: higher maize yield
    7. 7. The Models Maize yield (kg/ha) = f(tree, farmer, crop management, physical land characteristics) 1 2 Farmer Tree – Varies by Model Crop Management Physical Land
    8. 8. But what does it really mean?  All tree variables are highly significant(<1%)  Magnitude of tree variables comparable or greater than other crop management practices  12-14% increase over average (1.4 tons/ha)  168.5 kg/ha for presence  206-211 kg per/ha for physical characteristic models Maize KG per hectare Tree Presence Model 200 150 100 50 0 169 173 143 97 91 F. albida Chemical Fertilizer Hybrid Maize Other Agroforestry Tree Manure
    9. 9. Question 2: Compatibility
    10. 10. Labor Demand  Labor demanded for establishment of trees varies by method, 40 – 53 person days per hectare  Significant variation and small sample size (N=119)  Relatively minor compared to demands from maize crops, 377 person days per hectare  11 to 14% increase in labor demanded, across activities  Pruning will require 18 person days per hect per year – 5% increase in labor
    11. 11. Question 3: Adoption
    12. 12. Agroforestry Adoption Decision Criteria Attribute How well the systems combine with existing farm practices – Compatibility Flexibility of the systems Rank (of 6) 4.9 4.5 The systems’ ability to provide multiple products such as food or fuelwood Your confidence in the systems’ ability to provide the promised benefits – Reliability Consistency of benefits each year 2.9 Financial benefits compared to cost of planting trees 2.3 3.2 3.1 • Compatibility – Same activities, timing • Flexibility – Trees cannot be moved, but have positive impact on yield across crops, including cash crops
    13. 13. Recap  Yes! There is a link to higher maize yield  12-14% - Enough to feed a child for a year  Less than experimental but comparable to chemical fertilizer and other practices  Yes! It works with available resources  Chemical fertilizer is extremely expensive, more than all other inputs combined, required every single year  Better option for cash constrained by labor abundant communities, including this one and many in SE Africa  Expanding adoption  F. albida intercropping system well suited based on top decision criteria: compatibility and flexibility
    14. 14. Questions? World Agroforestry Congress 2014 ICRAF (Oluyede Ajayi, Frank Place, Dennis Garrity, Tracy Beedy, Innocent Phiri, Maurice Zimba), USAID, Malawi’s Department of Forestry, NCSU (Fred Cubbage, Nils Peterson, Erin Sills, Laarman Grant) & My extraordinary survey team (Martin, Alinafe, Brenda, Allen, Philmon)