Agrifood Economics
 

Publication

Title
Assessing the profitability and feasibility of climate-smart agriculture investment in Southern Malawi – Understanding the costs and benefits in a volatile and changing climate
Region
Africa
Subtitle
FAO Agricultural Development Economics Working Paper 21-07
Author
Ignaciuk, A., Maggio, G., Sitko, N.J.
Publication date
07/07/2021
Abstract

This working paper analyses the financial cost and benefit of adopting two different bundles of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices, which are tailored for the diverse conditions that prevail in southern Malawi. The results show the integration of CSA practices, including soil conservation, agroforestry, and livestock diversification, into conventional maize-legume and maize monocrop systems is profitable for farmers. Moreover, the profitability of these systems increases under extreme weather conditions that occur with increasing frequency in the region. However, the upfront costs and cost variability associated with the adoption of these CSA scenarios is high relative to conventional practices. In addition, while the Net Present Value is positive for the CSA scenarios, the monetary returns are small and are spread over a long investment period. These factors act as significant barriers to adopting CSA practices. Supporting farmers through climate financing or other mechanisms to make long-term private investment in CSA, based on the public benefits these investments generate for the environment, is critical for achieving widespread adoption.