Smallholder agriculture as a rural development strategy: The case of Malawi

Chipande, G. H. R (1983) Smallholder agriculture as a rural development strategy: The case of Malawi. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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It is widely agreed that the growth strategy pursued in most of the developing countries during the 1950s and 1960s, resulted in a development pattern whereby most of the rural masses did not share in the benefits of the development effort. The 1970s was therefore the decade during which many developing countries undertook rural development efforts, largely with the help of the World Bank and other donor agencies, in an attempt to bring the benefits of economic development to the rural poor. Small-holder agricultural development has been the commonest strategy undertaken by most of the developing countries (especially in sub-Saharan Africa), to achieve this objective. This study looks at the extent to which the smallholder agricultural development effort has succeeded in improving the incomes of the smallholder population in Malawi. The study focuses its attention on analysing the innovation adoption pattern which has emerged in the Lilongwe Land Development Progamme (a poineering experiment in integrated rural development in sub-Saharan Africa). In particular, it looks at the factors that are associated with the adoption of productivity raising innovations, by examining the characteristics that are associated with innovation adopters in the area. This is done by building a model of household typologies, based on the observed adoption behaviour. The findings from the study indicated that for a smallholder agricultural development strategy to succeed in reducing rural poverty, it must be in accord with other national policies. In addition; the productivity raising innovations must be able to reach the poor households. This necessitates a careful analysis of the. constraints faced by the poor households so that appropriate innovation packages can be designed for them. It was observed for example, that in the situation under review, female headed households were seen not to adopt most of offered by the project. The distribution of inputs on credit did not improve the situation due largely to the credit rating criteria which rendered ouch households' credit risks, and also the stipulation of minimum packages, which in most cases proved to be beyond the labour and financial resources of most of the poor households. More important, the study indicated that those households that did not adopt innovations tended to rely largely on non-farm sources of income (such as petty trading, beer brewing and wage labour) not only to improve their household income positions but even to meet subsistence, needs, suggesting that the smallholder development effort was not particularly meeting their needs. This suggested the need for a search for other means of improving the incomes of such households, to supplement the smallholder development effort.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: Johnathan Kydd
Keywords: Agricultural economics, Sub Saharan Africa studies
Date of Award: 1983
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1983-72783
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 11:06

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