Tobacco contract farming, crop diversification and household relations in the central region of Malawi

Prowse, Martin (2022) Tobacco contract farming, crop diversification and household relations in the central region of Malawi. Journal of Southern African Studies. ISSN 0305-7070

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This article examines crop diversification and household relations within a contract farming scheme in the Central region of Malawi. It discusses a pilot study that formally included wives to grow soya as part of a tobacco contract in Kasungu district. The article assesses whether this intervention improved benefits for the firm (through higher repayment rates), the farm (through higher yields for key crops) and the family (through greater well-being). Club-level data suggest that repayment rates remained the same. Comparisons between participating and non-participating households show a lack of accord between spouses: husbands asserted that maize yields and household well-being declined; wives highlight how they withdrew labour from soya, not maize, as they lost some control over this crop. Both spouses agreed that soya production and yields declined sharply but also that the firm should continue contracting wives to grow soya through a separate contract. Using data from both spouses offers a window on non-cooperation within households, with practical relevance for firms wishing to diversify the crops they are supporting via contract farming initiatives.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Acknowledgements: The research for this article was completed within the Gender Equity in Contract Farming in Eastern Africa (CONGENIAL) project, financed by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Department for International Development through Phase I of the Development Frontiers funding window (grant number ES/K011693/1). The author, the principal investigator for the project, wishes to thank Jytte Agergaard for supporting the training of enumerators in Lilongwe, Peter Fredslund Jensen for contributing to fieldwork in Kasungu, and especially Betty Chinyamunyamu, who facilitated affiliation to the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM) and commented on a previous version of this article. The author would also like to thank Ron Ngwira and Hugh Saunders of Alliance One Malawi for their commitment to engaging with the long-term research that the author has conducted in Malawi for more than 20 years. This manuscript would not be possible without the hard work of the team of enumerators who completed the survey instrument and visual household trajectories, which included Agness Banda, Grey Mutiye, Frazer Mkwaila, Maness Kochelari, Neo Ndovi, Austin Mbamba and Olive Mkumbadzala.
Uncontrolled Keywords: malawi,contract farming,food crops,gender,intra-household models,sub-saharan africa,geography, planning and development,arts and humanities (miscellaneous),sociology and political science ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3305
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2022 12:30
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2022 10:30
DOI: 10.1080/03057070.2022.2043653

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