Farming household types and their characterization in complex crop-livestock smallholder agricultural systems for contextual analysis and extension intervention: case of Riviridzi Catchment in Ntcheu
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Typology of farming units (households and farms) is deemed essential for targeted research and development programs. We employ the sustainable livelihood framework to collect integrated dataset for household, landscape and infrastructural attributes to quantitatively group farming units into plausible types. Interestingly it is noted that small scale farmers in the maize mixed farming system are heterogeneous and could be potentially grouped using principal component analysis (PCA) and K-mean cluster analysis (CA) into 3 classes. Income was the variable with the most discriminating power that significantly distinguished the classes into plausible types. Variables with high discriminating power between types I and II include family labour, transport facilities, household and farm equipment and tropical livestock units per person. Household types I and III differ significantly in terms of age and level of education of the household head. The types II and III are significantly distinguished only by income levels. The types identified are homogenous within a range of attribute values which can be used for technology targeting, extrapolation domain for supporting out-scaling of impacts and used for system modelling that copes with socio-ecological diversity.