Title: Exploring factors affecting adoption of in-situ rainwater harvesting technologies: a case of Lifidzi section in Salima district, Malawi

Author(s): Paulean Kadammanja
Final project
Year of publication:
dry spells, moisture, income, gender, slope


Agriculture performance in Malawi remains vulnerable to effects of climate change, such as global warming, dry spells, and droughts. The country loses 18 million m³ of rainwater yearly through runoff. Rainwater harvesting technology can increase food security as it provides an alternative source of water during droughts and dry spells. Despite the potential, adoption by smallholder farmers in Lifidzi section, Salima district in Malawi remains low. The aim of this study is to identify effective approaches to increase the level of rainwater harvesting technology adoption among farmers in Lifidzi section. This study used semi-structured interviews to explore factors affecting adoption of rainwater harvesting technologies in Lifidzi section. Through individual farmer and key informant interviews, it was discovered that the most commonly practised technologies in the area were box ridges, permanent planting pits, and swales. Adopters of rainwater harvesting technologies experienced improved soil fertility, increased soil moisture, reduced soil erosion and increased crop yield. The study shows that farmers were positively motivated to adopt such technologies because of erratic rainfall, sloping fields, poor soil type, warm temperature of the area and need to improve crop yield. Hindrances to adoption of rainwater harvesting technologies were size of the field, lack of land rights, being a female household head, lack of incentives, lack of extension support, labour intensive work, cost, and negative perceptions towards the technologies. This suggests that farmers are likely to adopt rainwater harvesting technologies when climatic and physical factors are not conducive to production, but are less likely to adopt such technologies when there are limiting socio-economic factors and lack of institutional support gets in the way.

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