Farm type-specific determinants of crop productivity in Riviridzi catchment, Ntcheu Malawi
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Closing the yield gap among the communities is seen as the step towards alleviating food insecurity and poverty. The casual effects of the actual yields observed in the study area shows that pooled analyses across farm types overshadows the within type variations or similarities. As much as nitrogen inputs seem to have effect when data is pooled, the study has found no evidence that yield differences arising from nitrogen fertiliser usage within the low income farm type. Similarly extension services and communication facilities are associated with yield when data is pooled across types. Tenure security and usage of soil and water conservation measures have positive significant effect on yield among farmers within Farmtype1. This implies that within the low income category, farmers that do not employ SWC measures and those without secure tenure (compared to those that do) get relatively lower yield benefits. Soil and water conservation measures play key role in improving soil fertility and moisture, the two critical conditions in these regions that have poor soils and often experience soil erosion, nutrient depletion and droughts. Policies that enhance secure tenure among these poor farming households are more likely going to motivate them to improve yields from their farms. The findings from this study are applicable across several altitudinal ranges (800-1,400masl) within the maize mixed farming systems of southern Africa. Although the effects of altitudinal gradients and topography were taken into account, further detailed research would reveal differences in yield performance within the elevation ranges.