Title: Factors affecting adoption of soil and water conservation technologies in Mbwadzulu Extension Planning Area (EPA), Mangochi District, Malawi

Author(s): Annett Mlenga
Final project
Year of publication:
Supervisors: Erla Hlín Hjálmarsdóttir
Land degradation, soil and water conservation, agriculture production, adoption, smallholder farmers


Land degradation is a serious problem that poses threats to sustainable agriculture production in Malawi. Despite several attempts by the government and non-governmental organizations promoting a variety of soil and water conservation technologies to minimise the effects of land degradation, adoption by small holder farmers remains low. The study was carried out to identify factors that affect adoption of soil and water conservation technologies. A survey was administered to 20 households coupled with three sessions of focus group discussions with 30 participants in the Mbwadzulu extension planning area, Mangochi District. The study could not find that socio-economic and demographic factors had a measurable impact on the adoption of SWC technologies. Furthermore, belonging to a farmer group, extension workers’ visits to farmers and period of SWC practice showed no statistical significance on adoption of SWC technologies. The study, however, established that attending farmer trainings had a positive influence on adoption of SWC. Farmers who attended training were better able to adopt SWC and illustrated changes in knowledge, attitude and perceptions towards SWC. The results of the study further indicate that farmers primarily practice SWC to improve soil fertility and attain high yields, but inadequate inputs and bush fires present challenges. Suggested methods for increasing adoption of SWC are to address some major challenges such as bush fires and livestock management, establish an award system, provide support to farmer groups, and commence a trial for specific female farmer groups. The study also recommends for the government to continue to support a variety of SWC methods, support farmer exchange visits, and to apply a cluster approach to increase the adoption of SWC.

Documents and links