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Is there such a thing as sustainable agricultural intensification in smallholder-based farming in sub-Saharan Africa? Understanding yield differences in relation to gender in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia

Andersson Djurfeldt, Agnes LU ; Djurfeldt, Göran LU ; Hillbom, Ellen LU ; Isinika, Aida C.; Joshua, Miriam Dalitso Kalanda; Kaleng’a, Wisdom Chilwizhi; Kalindi, Audrey; Msuya, Elibariki; Mulwafu, Wapulumuka and Wamulume, Mukata (2019) In Development Studies Research 6(1). p.62-75
Abstract

Smallholder-based, sustainable, agricultural intensification is increasingly put forth as a development pathway that is necessary to improve farmer's livelihoods, enhance productivity and engender a surplus that can be used to feed growing urban areas across sub-Saharan Africa. The following article examines trends in yields for Africa's largest staple crop – maize – among smallholder farmers in six regions in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, using longitudinal quantitative data collected in 2008, 2013 and 2017 in combination with qualitative data from nine villages. Substantial increases in yields are found only in Zambia, while yields are largely stagnant in Malawi and Tanzania. In the case of Zambia, however, there is a persistent... (More)

Smallholder-based, sustainable, agricultural intensification is increasingly put forth as a development pathway that is necessary to improve farmer's livelihoods, enhance productivity and engender a surplus that can be used to feed growing urban areas across sub-Saharan Africa. The following article examines trends in yields for Africa's largest staple crop – maize – among smallholder farmers in six regions in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, using longitudinal quantitative data collected in 2008, 2013 and 2017 in combination with qualitative data from nine villages. Substantial increases in yields are found only in Zambia, while yields are largely stagnant in Malawi and Tanzania. In the case of Zambia, however, there is a persistent gender-based yield gap. We use the qualitative data to explain this gap and find that gender-based differences in yields need to be understood in relation to local production systems, as well as the varied positionality of women, where the biases facing women who head their own households are different than for women living in male headed households. In policy terms, technologies that can promote intensification are different depending on these factors, even within the local context of particular farming systems.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
agriculture, gender, smallholders, Sub-Saharan Africa
in
Development Studies Research
volume
6
issue
1
pages
14 pages
publisher
Taylor & Francis
external identifiers
  • scopus:85063874697
DOI
10.1080/21665095.2019.1593048
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
6c702143-5ab0-455e-bb5e-c06c803bd60b
date added to LUP
2019-04-23 11:02:17
date last changed
2019-09-15 05:15:54
@article{6c702143-5ab0-455e-bb5e-c06c803bd60b,
  abstract     = {<p>Smallholder-based, sustainable, agricultural intensification is increasingly put forth as a development pathway that is necessary to improve farmer's livelihoods, enhance productivity and engender a surplus that can be used to feed growing urban areas across sub-Saharan Africa. The following article examines trends in yields for Africa's largest staple crop – maize – among smallholder farmers in six regions in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, using longitudinal quantitative data collected in 2008, 2013 and 2017 in combination with qualitative data from nine villages. Substantial increases in yields are found only in Zambia, while yields are largely stagnant in Malawi and Tanzania. In the case of Zambia, however, there is a persistent gender-based yield gap. We use the qualitative data to explain this gap and find that gender-based differences in yields need to be understood in relation to local production systems, as well as the varied positionality of women, where the biases facing women who head their own households are different than for women living in male headed households. In policy terms, technologies that can promote intensification are different depending on these factors, even within the local context of particular farming systems.</p>},
  author       = {Andersson Djurfeldt, Agnes and Djurfeldt, Göran and Hillbom, Ellen and Isinika, Aida C. and Joshua, Miriam Dalitso Kalanda and Kaleng’a, Wisdom Chilwizhi and Kalindi, Audrey and Msuya, Elibariki and Mulwafu, Wapulumuka and Wamulume, Mukata},
  keyword      = {agriculture,gender,smallholders,Sub-Saharan Africa},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {62--75},
  publisher    = {Taylor & Francis},
  series       = {Development Studies Research},
  title        = {Is there such a thing as sustainable agricultural intensification in smallholder-based farming in sub-Saharan Africa? Understanding yield differences in relation to gender in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21665095.2019.1593048},
  volume       = {6},
  year         = {2019},
}