Earth Institute Research Projects

The effect of demonstration plots and warehouse receipt system on ISFM adoption, yield and income of smallholder farmers: an evaluation of Malawi’s Anchor Farm Model

Lead PI: Cheryl Palm

Unit Affiliation: Agriculture & Food Security Center

June 2014 - October 2017
Africa ; Malawi
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: Agriculture accounts for 35 percent of Malawi’s gross domestic product and employs 90 per cent of its rural population. However, close to 51 per cent of the population engaged in agriculture live below the poverty line. Low agricultural productivity is the result of dependence on rain-fed farming, high transportation costs, low uptake of improved farm inputs, insufficient extension services, inadequate credit, missing input and output markets, and weak farmer organisations.

The Clinton Development Initiative’s Anchor Farm Model (AFM) employs a multi-pronged approach to increase agricultural production, income and food security by promoting the adoption of yield-enhancing integrated soil fertility management practices (ISFM), particularly for soybean. The programme, which is funded by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, will focus on assessing the impact of a subset of interventions, including access to input credit, demonstration plots (with a focus on rotation, fertiliser and inoculation of soy) and the warehouse receipt system. In addition, it will attempt to increase the cost-effectiveness of demonstration plots by exploring the role of mobile phone messages and sole-managed plots. The evaluation will also collect extensive soil data, thereby providing input into the analysis to establish fertiliser recommendations for the area.