Input Subsidies, Household Welfare, and Sustainable Land Use

This blog focuses on our recent research in Malawi on the Input Subsidy Program and Its Impacts. We have collected detailed panel data from farm households in 6 districts in central and southern Malawi in 2006, 2007 and 2009 and use these in our analyses. The research was funded by NORAD and the Norwegian Embassy in Malawi and data were collected by a group of students in our Master Program in Development and Natural Resource Economics

Has the input subsidy program reduced the extent of intercropping?

Field work in MalawiPosted by Stein Holden Sun, September 05, 2010 20:25:30
While legumes were grown as the main crop on only 13% (2006) to 17% (2009) of the plots, legumes were the most frequently used intercrops. Intercropping took place on 54% of the maize plots versus only 15% of the plots under other crops. Pigeon pea was the most common intercrop found on 18% of the plots, followed by common beans (6% of the plots), cassava (5% of the plots). The fact that intercropping was more common on maize plots than for other main crops indicates that maize production does not necessarily imply mono-cropping of maize. A further inspection of the data revealed that 49% of the maize plots planted with hybrid maize were intercropped against 60% of the plots under local maize. When looking at fertilizer use versus intercropping, 46% of the maize plots that did not receive fertilizer had intercrops while 58% of the plots that received fertilizer had intercrops. Intercropping was much more common in Chiradzulu and Thyolo (82 and 78% of the maize plots) than in Lilongwe and Kasungu (18 and 29% of the plots). With smaller farm sizes in the south the maize area share increases but this is compensated by increased intercropping to enhance the production of these crops as well. Intensification therefore implies both more fertilizer use and more intercropping. No significant relationship between the extent of intercropping and access to subsidized fertilizer was found.

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