Impact of Soil and Water Conservation Improvement on the Welfare of Smallholder Farmers in Southern Malawi

Francis Maguza-Tembo, Edriss Abdi-Khalil, Julius Mangisoni


This study employed full Mahalanobis matching and a variety of propensity score matching methods to adjust for pre-treatment observable differences between treated and untreated groups for measuring the impact of technologies. Data were collected from 619 smallholder farmers in the districts of Nsanje and Balaka in southern Malawi during 2014-2015 cropping season. There was a 27% reduction in per capita income because of farmer’s involvement in soil and water conservation technologies. The impact is significant at 5% level. Similarly, there is an 8% reduction in per capita expenditure because of farmer’s involvement in soil and water conservation technologies. Although households practicing the technologies under study realized nominally higher yields, the yield differences between them and those not practicing were not as significant. The study concluded that adoption of soil and water conservation technologies did not improve the incomes of small-scale farmers in the areas. These results were surprising, but several feasible explanations were made for the incongruity in the findings.

Keywords: propensity score matching, incomes, impact, smallholder farmers

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ISSN (Paper)2222-1700 ISSN (Online)2222-2855

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