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Integrating diverse grain legumes for increased land productivity on small farms in Malawi

Malawi is a small country located in southern Africa with only 119,000 km2 for a population of about 16.7 million people. With agriculture as the mainstay of the economy, Malawi’s high population density of 140 people/km2 requires that agricultural productivity and other ecosystem services must be optimized. As part of the Africa RISING (Research In Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation) Feed the Future project, implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and its partners, including Michigan State University, action research that includes integration of legumes at scale to target food, income and nutritional security has been implemented in two central districts of Malawi (Dedza and Ntcheu) with farmers producing crops on small farms ranging 0.4-1 ha, with a small proportion of farms as large as 2 ha. Smallholder farming households in the target areas are distinctly diverse, driven by historical access to resources. Access to land drives the intensity of nutrient use among farms of different resource endowment and production orientation, leading to large variation in soil fertility status and crop productivity. Therefore, technological interventions to address the problem of poor productivity of smallholder agricultural systems must be designed to target socially diverse and spatially heterogeneous farms and farming systems.

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Publisher: FAO
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Year: 2016
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Country/ies: Malawi
Geographical coverage: Africa
Full text available at: http://www.fao.org/3/a-bl326e.pdf
Content language: English
Author: Regis Chikowo ,
Type: Case study
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