Kawinga project

Title: Five Kawinga farming systems
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080666/00001
 Material Information
Title: Five Kawinga farming systems
Physical Description: 23 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Chitedze Agricultural Research Station -- Farming Systems Analysis Section
Publisher: Farming Systems Analysis Section, Chitedze Agricultural Research Station,
Farming Systems Analysis Section, Chitedze Agricultural Research Station
Place of Publication: Lilongwe Malawi
Copyright Date: 1982
Subject: Agricultural systems -- Malawi -- Kawinga (Machinga District)   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Economic aspects -- Malawi -- Kawinga (Machinga District)   ( lcsh )
Agricultural extension work -- Malawi -- Kawinga (Machinga District)   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Malawi
Statement of Responsibility: Farming Systems Analysis Section.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00080666
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 163594501

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Full Text


Farming Systems Analysis Section
Chitedze Agricultural Research Station
P.O. Box 158
Lilongwe, Malwi

In February 1982 Liwonde Agricultural Development Division (LWADD) initiated
and sponsored a diagnostic survey of the farming systems in Kawinga Project of LWADD.
Two units from the Department of Agricultural Research (DAR) provided professional
leadership for the survey; these were the Farming Systems Analysis Section
(author of this paper) and the Women in Agricultural Development Project. LWADD
and DAR staff jointly participated in the survey itself.

The diagnostic survey is the first step in the farming systems research
process. Accompanied by a search of available background information on climate,
particularly rainfall and soils, and cropping and livestock patterns, the survey
can provide a rapid synthesis (that is, a composite picture) of local systems
and of high priority targets for action by research and development. For Kawinga
the LWADD staff prepared a background report from available climatic, census,
ADMARC, evaluation, and extension data before the survey began and this greatly
facilitated the survey itself which took less than a week.

This 23 page description of five farming systems in the plateau and lakeshore
plain areas of Kawinga is presented as a guide to the picture of an area that may
be obtained from a &iagnostic survey that is supported by a search of available
background reports. Hopefully this may serve as a guide to other research,
ADD management, evaluation, and extension staff who are initiating farming
systems programs in their areas.

This report has been incoporated into a larger report put out by LWADD:
Liwonde Agricultural Development Division Planning and Evaluation Unit.
Farming Systems Survey of Kawinga Rural Development Project. Occasional
Paper No. 4 1982

Copies of that report may be obtained directly from the ADD.



Household composition and summary of resources:

Households with this system may.have one or more adults
per household, so they may be headed by men or women. The
proportion of female-headedness is higher in this system than
in the project as a whole. Few capital resources are used .in
agriculture other than the basics: land, hoes, and home-grown
seeds. Additional upland (munda) or dambo (for dimba garden)
may be available to the households, but capital and labor are
consistent restraints to intensifying cultivation or extending
the land under cultivation. No credit is now being used nor any
introduced inputs such as fertilizers, ADMARC seeds,pesticides,
etc. Some seeds (or cassava cuttings) may be purchased locally.

The majority of households in the plain are characterized
by system number one. With additional capital/credit this
system is transformed into systems numbers two or three.

Geographic location:

This system is found in Kawinga plain where there is no
or some dambo included in the household's cultivated acreage.
Where there is a lot of dambo (as in the lowlying area to the
south and east of the project) this system is transformed into
system number four.

Major problem and priority:

There is a consistent shortage of staple crops,
particularly maize, so these households have to work for others
(other smallholders or estates) as casual labourers during the
rainy season to earn maize for nsima. The highest priority to
these people is to increase the household's production of the
staple crop (maize).

Cropping patterns, trends and income:

1. "Local" maize is the primary crop and the preferred
dietary staple. The majority of cultivated land is
planted with this crop, almost always intercropped
with relish (ndiwo) crops and/or secondary or
insurance nsima crops.

2. Crops intercropped with maize include: groundnuts,
cowpeas (indeterminant or spreading varieties called
khobwe), sorghum, bulrush millet, cassava, pigeon peas,
dolichos, groundbeans and sweet potatoes. The main
crops in the most common mixtures are:

maize x groundnuts
maize x cowpeas (khobwe)
maize x sorghum

- 2 -

3. Cassava is an important secondary or insurance
staple. It is usually found as a purestand, although
it may be intercropped with maize (1:1 ratio,
interplanted in a single row on top of ridge) during
the first rainy season. Less frequently, cassava may
be interplanted with relish crops.

There is no clear single trend for cassava. The crop
continues in the system, although its acreage is
inhibited by proximity to hills with their wild pig
populations. In other areas, perhaps due to soil
type, rainfall or proximity to past or present
markets, cassava is more important. If the market
demand or price improves, or if transportation to
markets improves, cassava acreage might increase and
the care taken of cassava might improve.

4. Sorghum is an important secondary or insurance staple
and is also used for brewing beer. It is usually
found intercropped with maize (fewer sorghum
stations than maize with sorghum in a row off the top
of the ridge or in the furrow), although it is some-
times a purestand.

The trend is for sorghum to diminish in importance
and acreage.

5. Rice will be grown purestand as a secondary staple
and cash crop wherever there is dambo available.
Faya and local varieties (manda, berin) are

6. Groundnuts are most commonly intercropped with maize,
although households may also have a purestand.
Chalimbana is the variety grown. In addition to its
use as relish, this is an important cash crop.

The long-term trend has been for groundnut
production to decrease, although it is unclear
whether the acreage has correspondingly diminished.
Reasons for the downturn in production appear to be
rosette and "pops", although the influence of other
diseases such as leaf spot, wilt, etc. is less easy
to note. Inspite of heavy rosette infestation and
the occurrence of "pops", farmers continue to grow this
because of its utility as a cash crop.

7. No fertilizer is used, but grasses and crop residues
may be used as green manure. This varies with the
severity of termite attacks.

8. No crops are grown solely for cash sales. Sales of
maize and groundnuts provide the major cash income
from crops. With more dambo and rice, sales of that
crop become more important. Cash income from crop
sales is probably less than cash income from off-farm

- 3 -


The survey concentrated on crop and off-farm elements
of the systems, so almost no information was collected
on the role of livestock.

Other (including off-farm) income:

1. Cash income from off-farm work is probably greater
than cash income from crop sales.

2. The most common off-farm source of income is casual
labor (ganyu) on the fields of other local small-
holders or estates. This work becomes essential when
the household exhausts its stored supply of staple
crops, something that happens many years. The ganyu
labor may be in direct exchange for maize or may be
for cash which is usually then used to buy maize.
Therefore, this off-farm involvement should be seen
as part of a subsistence pattern rather than a
commercial venture to generate capital or earn wealth.

3. Other off-farm sources of income include fishing and
trading in fish.

4. Brewing and selling beer and making and selling
handicrafts (baskets, pots, mats, handles, etc.) may
be important on-farm sources of income. For some
households these sources may earn more cash than off-
farm work.

Constraints to agricultural production:

1. Lack of capital/credit to buy fertilizer or pay for
hired labor.

2. Lack of sufficient labor to extend cultivation to
increase acreage. The lack of labor is compounded
by the need to take labor away from the farm during
the cropping season in order to earn maize to eat.

3. Sometimes access to more land (less common than the
lack of capital and labor).

4. All of the pests and diseases that are common in the
area (see list above).

5. Late planting due to late land preparation.

Recommendation for Project Action:

Opportunities for Agricultural Production:

1. Provide credit for fertilizing "local" maize. (The
ADD is doing this as of the 1981/82 season.) Research
the responsiveness of "local" maizes to fertilizer
so that appropriate recommendations may be made.

- 4 -

(The present series of on-farm trials is a
beginning of this needed research). Instruct in the
correct timing of fertilizer application.
Encourage the formation of credit groups or clubs
of farmers who just want this minimal credit package.
Otherwise, the entry of these low resource farmers
into existing groups or clubs might be delayed.

2. Instruct in utilizing the indigenous fishbean
(chinyenye or ntutu in Chiyao) to control stalkborer.
Grinding the beans and soaking in water creates
an effective poison traditionally used to kill fish.

3. Introduce rosette-resistant groundnuts on credit or
through some other format. The present RGI is
disliked because it is low-graded by ADMARC, but
local traders are buying unshelled groundnuts by the
bag which encourages production.

4. Alternatively, offer less than an acre units of
Chalimbana seed on credit since an acre of purestand
is greater than the available labor can manage.

5. Instruct in early planting of groundnuts and in
filling the gaps. Farmers are unaware of the relation-
ship between .ground cover and rosette
infestation. Early planting of groundnuts could be
attained through ensuring that the first planted maize
was intercroDped with proundnuts. A drawback would be
the susceptibility of groundnuts to drought
subsequent to the first planting rains.

6. Introduce mosaic-resistant varieties of cassava and
instruct in the importance of planting non-infected
cuttings. (The present program of providing clean
cuttings is a good step).

7. Small credit packages (only fertilizer for "local"
maize, less than an acre packages for groundnuts)
will be useful to many of these farmers. There are
some problems, however, with seeing credit-assisted
inputs as the answer. Few if any of these farmers now
produce a cash surplus above their subsistence needs
(cash to buy essential items) or have stored wealth
(cattle or gnots) that could be used to repay the
credit in case of poor rainfall and crop failures.
For some or many of these farmers the addition of low
levels of fertilizer to "local" maize might assist
them to reach or come closer to meeting their home
consumption needs, but they will not produce a surplus
above consumption needs that could easily be.sold to
repay the loan. On,,'ther words, many of these -farmers
will have to generate cash from other sources (not
their credit-assisted crops) to repay their loans.

- 5 -

The addition of fertilizer, a high-priced input,
will not result in greatly increased yields if other
husbandry practices, pests or diseases limit the
plant's response. For this reason it is important
to correct husbandry practices and control other
limiting agents before (or simultaneously with) the
introduction of fertilizer. Ensure, for instance, that
the fertilizer is applied to early-planted maize
rather than late-planted. A stalkborer control
program and a standby army worm control program
(that would operate when attacks occur) might be
started in conjuction with increased fertilization
of maize.

8. Another possible defence against credit default and
a way to also help farmers in this system generate
some additional cash is to encourage the
intercropping of a cash crop (high value per weight
or.volume) in "local" maize or cassava fields. Grams,
chickpeas, additional cowpeas, pigeon peas, etc. may
be possibilities,but research is needed before making
any recommendations. The advantages of this
intercropping strategy are that no additional land
needs to be cleared, ridged or weeded (minimizing
labor demands); the crop is high value per weight or
volume (minimizing transport difficulties); and this
builds on crops and technology which are known
locally (with modifications possible in plant density,
intercropping structure, time of planting, or variety).

- 6 -


Comparison with system number one:

This system is very similar to number one with a few

1. S/A fertilizer (1-2 bags) is purchased each year in
order to fertilize "local" maize.

2. Consequently the household usually has enough maize
for nsima.

3. Consequently there is no need for the household to
engage in casual day labor during the growing season.
The released labor may go into extending agricultural
acreage, paying more attention or more timely
attention to cultivation, other income-generating
activities that are more profitable, or may through
choice (rather than necessity) engage in casual

Some of the households exhibiting this pattern had been
purchasing S/A since 1966, and others had started during the
1970s. It is unclear why these farmers originally started
purchasing fertilizer wtb t-heir own money, so original
differences between households in systems one and two are
impossible to detect at this date. What is important, and this
is why system two is distinguished from system number one, is
that the acquisition of fertilizer for "local" maize seems to
be a key variable separating two standards of living, while
the other farm and off-farm characteristics are fairly similar.

Many of these households seem content to remain with
their present farming system, while others are moving upward
into more commercial production. Having a secure supply of
maize permits farmers to experiment with introduced varieties
of maize (UCA or, less commonly, MH 12) and with other credit
packages such as purestand groundnuts or, rarely, tobacco.

Recommendation for Project Action:

Opportunities for agricultural production:

1. The most important recommendation is to instruct all
of these farmers in timeliness of fertilizer
application. Many of those interviewed delay
application until just before tasselling. The farmers
with this system who are not moving into credit
packages might never learn the correct timing unless
special instruction is given in large public
gatherings (not just to groups of credit farmers).

2. All of the recommendations for system number one.

- 7 -


Comparison with systems number one and two:

This system is in the same ecological environment
(plains with no or some dambo) as systems one and two, but
system number three is characterized by high capital/credit
inputs and an orientation in the cropping pattern toward
those cash crops for which credit is available (UCA and MH 12
maize, Chalimbana groundnuts in purestand acres, and tobacco).
Tobacco and introduced maizes are innovative crops in this

There is another geographic relationship that may be
important. Other things being equal, farmers with greater
access to roads, ADMARC Markets and extension agents will tend
to more credit and more use of purchased/credit inputs than
farmers who are more isolated. This means that system number
three should be found in pockets near markets, roads and
extension agents rather than evenly scattered over the plain.

Household composition and resources:

These usually have two adults per households and are
usually headed by men (disproportionate to the percentage of
male-headedness among all households in the project), and these
often have political positions (chiefs, headmen, party leaders),
more formal education, more cosmopolitan experience
(international migrants, urban work) and/or crafts or trades
that provide good non-agricultural incomes (trader/peddler,
storeowner, bricklayer). More land is cultivated than the
average: this is a consequence of greater access to land (due
to sociopolitical positions) and the ability to hire more
people. Additional land that is not yet cultivated may be
available to some of these households (primarily the families
of chiefs and headmen). Credit is available and being used, with
some households noted as having 5 credit packages between
husband and wife. Credit covers seed and fertilizer inputs,
and accumulated cash and stored grain cover the costs of hiring

Major problem and priority:

This system is not characterized by problems of
subsistence, although the farmers here are still ultimately
concerned with satisfying their home consumption.needs. The
major problem is managerial, and the highest priority for
farmers is choosing the most appropriate set of enterprises
and the most appropriate technology that will satisfy their
desires for secure subsistence and high profits.

- 8 -

Cropping patterns, trends and income:

1. Maize is the primary crop and the preferred dietary
staple. More land is planted to this crop than to
all others combined. Total maize acreage may have
remained the same as when only "local" maize was
grown (with the acreage now in introduced varieties
being subtracted from the "local" acreage) or may
have increased.

All maize is usually fertilized, though at different
rates. "Local" maize almost always continues as the
most important element in staple food production,
although often supplemented by UCA maize. Sometimes
all of the UCA (1-3 acres per farm) is destined for
sale, only "local" (1-3 acres per farm) being grown
for home use, and more rarely UCA completely replaces
"local" as the staple. Several families remarked that
they preferred the taste of UCA nsima to that made of
"local", and most noted that the major obstacle to
increased use of UCA as a staple was the susceptibility
to weeviling while in storage.

The trend is for these people to have been buying
1-2 bags of S/A fertilizer for "local" maize for years
before the project began in 1977. With advent of the
project these people began trying UCA on credit, UCA
having an advantage over MH 12 in that UCA is used
for home consumption as well as for sale (dual
function), while MH 12 is only for sale. Since the
need to ensure a sufficient supply of maize for nsima
is still an important consideration, people added on
UCA (with its fertilizer package of 1 bag of 20:20:0
and 2 bags of S/A per acre) to their "local" maize
(fertilized almost always with 1 bag of S/A per acre).
Some have also tried MH 12 (usually only 1 acre per
farm) since the combination of fertilized "local"
and UCA permuted them to ensure a subsistence maize
supply (plus extra to pay casual labourers) on less
acreage. Usually the MH 12 acreage came from a reduced
"local" acreage. In the future more "local" acreage, as
well as more presently uncultivated land, will go
into introduced varieties. It is unclear from this
survey whether MH 12 will increase its share of maize
production relative to UCA, although both will increase
relative to "local".

2. Intercropping is much reduced since much of the
acreage is in credit-assisted crops, and extension
and credit staff discourage intercropping. The inter-
cropping that remains is in the "local" maize (and
perhaps the cassava) fields.

- 9 -

3. Cassava acreage and production is much reduced.
As the size and security of the maize harvest
increases, the value of an insurance nsima decreases,
especially when the secondary staple is not farmed
for its taste or other qualities. Cassava remains
more for snacks than as a staple, and these farmers
tend to neglect their cassava by not weeding it
(or weeding infrequently).

The trend is for cassava to diminish in acreage,
disappear from some/many of these farms, and remain
as an unimportant minor crop on the others.

4. Sorghum has almost disappeared from these farms
because it cannot survive the inattention. The same
reasons apply as for cassava with the additional
point that brewing beer (which is another function of
sorghum production) is usually considered
inappropriate behavior for people with the
socioeconomic status of these men and women.

The trend is for sorghum to disappear except for
occasional small plots or rows on the fringe of
"local" maize fields.

5. Tobacco becomes an additional credit-assisted
enterprise to some of these farmers. Although grown
by a very small minority of Kawinga farmers, the crop
is appropriate for these farmers with their cash and
stored grain reserves. No one interviewed in the
survey had more than one acre of tobacco, but it was
seen as a highly profitable crop. These farmers are
aware of relative gross returns to various crops and
are motivated to increase their cash income.

The trend is for tobacco acreage and production to
increase unless regulations or negative changes in
profitability inhibit the trend.

6. Groundnuts are grown purestand as a cash crop on
almost all of these farms (1-2 acres per farm). Both
husband and wife might be receiving an acre on credit
(as may be done with UCA). Intercropping this crop
with "local" maize probably has been eliminated or
survives only in a minor way. Rosette and "pops"
(as well as other unspecified diseases) are problems
but these farmers are convinced that this is a
profitable crop.

The trend is for this acreage to remain constant
unless price changes affect the profitability relative
to other crops. The farmers with this system are
highly responsive to price fluctuations.

7. Rice is a minor crop in this environment wherever
there is some dambo: it is grown purestand.

- 10 -

8. A lot of fertilizer is used: the following crops
receive fertilizer consistently "local" maize,
UCA and MH 12 maize, and tobacco. Green manure may
be used also.

9. Tobacco, groundnuts and MH 12 are grown primarily
as cash crops. UCA is dual purpose with some farmers
growing it purely for sale. Sales of these crop
constitute significant cash incomes. UCA and "local"
maize are used also to pay casual labourers for
ridging fields and weeding crops.


The survey focused on crop production so almost no data
was collected on the role of livestock or manure in the
system. It is possible that cattle play an important role in
this system as a way to store wealth (a savings account).

Other (including off-farm) income:

Little attention was paid to this feature of this
system, but it is known that these people pay a lot of
attention to their farms, and the farms occupy a lot of their
time during the cropping season.

Constraints to agricultural production:

Capital (cridl') .:d l.bcr (hired) are not strongly
constraining, although land does contain some of these farmers.
These household systems are primarily constrained by
management time (husband and wife may be jointly or, less
common, independently managing different enterprises), a sense
of satisfaction with what has already been achieved, an
awareness of the risks in agriculture and a desire not to
outstrip their ability to repay their loans. Their needs are
technical (pest/disease control, appropriate recommendations
for varieties and husbandry practices) and managerial
(criteria for choosing among alternatives and managing

Recommendation for Project Action:
Opportunities for agricultural production:

1. Note that all of these farmers (in married couples
probably all of the husbands and some of the wives)
belong to credit groups or farmer's clubs, already
receive credit successfully, and are in frequent
(and usually long-term) contact with extension staff.
All of those interviewed understand the correct
timing for the application of S/A to "local" maize.
All have the resources to handle acre-sized credit
packages and to purchase chemicals such as dipterex,
sevin and actellic.

- 11 -

For these reasons, this is a very different
"recommendation domain" than farmers in systems
numbers one and two.

2. The only recommendations from systems one and two
that apply here are the introduction of rosette-
resistant groundnut varieties and more explicit
instruction in practices that minimize rosette
(early planting, dense populations, filling gaps

3. Instruct in advanced crop storage techniques
utilizing actellic and granaries with solid walls
(rather than loose weave). These farmers are
constrained from further adoption of higher-yielding
maizes because of their susceptibility to weeviling
during storage. Since these are the early pioneers in
UCA adoption and are being watched by their relatJves
and neighbours, it is important that they solve this
storage constraint.

Two farmers with this system reported having tried
actellic and having failed to solve the weevil problem.
These farmers have financial resources, are well
organized into clubs and groups, and are motivated.
They are an ideal audience for crop storage
innovations. (Bvumbwe Research Station is the major
station for cr; .rage ,wok). Each club might
build a model nkhokwe as a demonstration and their
own instruction.

4. Distribute chemicals (actellic, dipterex, sevin, etc.)
around and instruct farmers in their uses. Right
now these chemicals are all stockpiled at the parent
ADMARC depot near Mlomba. Project extension officials
noted they had told farmers before that project staff
would collect and distribute chemicals if farmers put
in an order. Although this method apparently did not
work, the availability of chemicals in nearby ADMARC
selling points combined-with instruction and
demonstrations (dipterex on stalkborer, for instance,
or actellic in a model granary) would be more effective.

5. Initiate medium term credit programs for oxcarts.
There is the impression that some ADDs discourage
credit for carts because they are not productive;
they only help distribute instead of helping
produce crops. For this reason there is the impression
that some ADDs do not allow credit for carts or tie
that to prior credits for ploughs and riders. This
is unfortunate because oxcarts in themselves
facilitate productive and production -motivating
activities such as:

12 -

hauling manure to fields,
hauling fertilizers from markets to homes
and fields.
hauling harvested crops to homes and

There is one important caution: do not advance a cart
on credit until the farmer has trained oxen or
cattle already available. Some farmers become so
enamored with having a cart that they get one and
then start looking for some cattle to train.

6. Encourage further use by wives and unmarried women
of credit packages. When women have the resources
characteristic of this system they are good credit
risks. Encouraging their participation in the credit
system (with its accompanying instruction in
husbandry practices) is a low cost means of expanding
popular awareness and experience of credit,
introduced inputs and improved practices. Some wives
and~unarried women already are receiving credit t
(usually for groundnuts and UCA maize). They must be
personally talked with by extension staff. It is not
enough to talk to a husband and expect him to transfer
the message. An additional benefit of including wives
as members of credit groups is that the women will be
able to draw on this experience to maintain higher
levels of farming and income in the event of divorce
or death of the husband. Otherwise, divorce or becoming
a widow would probably result in women without credit
experience reverting back to system number one or two.

7. Women might continue growing groundnuts as a cash
crop after the men have focused more on UCA or MH 12
maize or tobacco. It might be a good idea to establish
some groundnut production courses (one day at a
center or in a village) that are solely or predominantly
for women. Groundnuts are a problem crop (rosette,
pops, etc.) that were customarily a "woman's crop"
(just tobacco is sometimes called a "man's crop",
while maize is neutral with regard to the sex of
cultivator). If women receive more advice and
encouragement in groundnut husbandry, their
involvement may be an effective buffer against
future decreases in gzoundnut acreage.

8. Tobacco farmers are requesting credit to assist with
the costs of hiring labor. Although labor hire does
create a cash flow problem for farmers since they are
expending often sizable amounts of money before being
able to harvest, the project should not get involved
in this. It is important to allow farmers to
mobilize their personal savings as part of capital/
wealth formation, and credit is expected to assist not
replace the role of savings. .

- 13 -


Comparison with systems one, two and three:

This system is similar to systems one and two in having
low resources and few capital inputs, but the ecological
environment is quite different. System number four is very.
common in the lowlying areas to the east and south of Kawinga
project where a high proportion of land is dambo (and marsh).
This system is also found in the plain where there is a lot of
dambo. The ecological difference means that farmers with this
system have a relatively lower upland: dambo ratio of
cultivated land and a greater threat of waterlogging and
flooding than farmers in systems one, two and three.

Although three systems are defined for most of the plain
(in order to highlight the importance of fertilizer.'local"
maize), only two systems (number four and five) are identified
for the dambo/lakeshore areas. Some of the households in
system number four do fertilize their "local" maize while the
majority do not.

Household composition and summary of resources:

This is similar to system number one with a few changes.
First, households in system number four control less upland
(for munda cultivation) and more dambo. Upland is generally in
scarce supply, so that is a constraint to many of these
households. Second, there may be (this needs to be checked with
census or evaluation data) a higher proportion of female-headed
households in the dambo/lakeshore area than in the project as a
whole (male emigration being a causal variable). Third, the
environment promotes rice cultivation which has dual functions
as an alternative staple and a good cash crop, so even low
resource households have more potential cash income from
farming. Fourth; the environment also offers fishing and
fishing-related business (making canoes, supplying staple foods
to fishermen, buying and selling fish) as good, local, off-farm
opportunities. As one consequence ofthese factors, labor for
on-farm cultivation of munda crops may be even more limiting
(absence of men, attractiveness of dambo rice and off-farm

Major problem and priority:

These are the same as for system number one: the problem
being a consistent shortage of staple crops, particularly
maize, and the priority being to increase the household's
production of the staple crop (maize). Farming in this
environment reflects further risks in maize production (water-
logging, leaching of soil nutrients, sandy soils) and the
opportunities for increased rainfed rice production and off-farnr
fishing-related work and trade.

S14 -

Cropping patterns, trends and income:

1. "Local" maize is the primary crop and the preferred
dietary staple. The majority of cultivated upland
(munda) is planted with this crop, almost always
intercropped with relish (ndiwo) crops and increasingly
intercropped with rice. Probably the majority of all
cultivated land (upland and dambo combined) is planted
with maize, but the cultivation of purestand rice
on dambo areas is steadily increasing (check this
with land husbandry and evaluation).

2..The most common crop that is intercropped with "local"
maize is coeas (khobwe). This appears to be the same
in the plain and dambo areas. Others intercropped
plants we observe include rice, pigeon peas, dolichos
and groundnuts. There are undoubtedly many more but
we did not see them.

3. Cassava is an important secondary or insurance staple.
It is usually found as a purestand, although it may be
interplanted with maize during the first rainy season.

The trend is for cassava to receive less time
(increasing rice cultivation) and perhaps less acreage
(shifting to maize). As a consequence cassava fields
are weeded late or never, but the crop continues as
an insurance against shortages in maize production.

4. Rice is an important secondary food crop (eaten instead
of nsima or as a snack) and an increasingly popular
cash crop. Dambo areas, roadside ditches and furrows
in many maize fields are planted in this crop, and
there are several schemes for faya rice cultivation.
Scheme cultivation is a feature of system number five
rather than four. Local varieties such as manda and
berin are also grown (not in the schemes). This crop
is usually grown purestand, but waterlogging or high
water levels in upland areas planted in maize leads
to rice being transplanted into those fields after
the maize has been banked.

There are differences in husbandry between dambo and
scheme cultivation. Although few farmers in this
system have a plot in a scheme, the cultivation
differences are worth noting. The ones we noted
concerned: broadcasting versus transplanting from
nurseries, irregular versus row planting, plant
density, fertilizer application and harvesting.
Fertilizer application is probably only sensible in
schemes where the water flow is controlled since the
fertilizer would be washed away in dambos with
uncontrolled flooding. The other differences offer
directions for improvement of dambo cultivation.

Rice intercropped with maize is all transplanted.
Dambo rice is often seeded directly by broadcasting.
Farmers report that the use of nurseries and
transplanting is increasing, but this may be an area
where more extension advice would be useful. Nurseries
allow the opportunity for earlier establishment of
the crop while land preparation may be spread out to
minimize labor bottlenecks.

When asked, none of the farmers in one scheme knew
why they were supposed to do certain things; they
just knew that lumped together the recommendations
were supposed to increase yield. Extension staff
need to make sure that farmers learn "why" and not
just "how to" do improved husbandry.

In'schemes, transplanting occurs in straight rows with
9 inch spacing, while dambo transplanting (according
to farmers) usually resulted in denser planting and
irregular spacing. Farmers with scheme experience say
that row planting makes transplanting quicker; hired
labor is more willing or cheaper when row planting; and
the reduced density (expanded to 9 inches) leads to
increased yield. However, they also reported that
dambo cultivation continues to be irregular and more
dense. The comparative density-of dambo and scheme
planting was not field checked, and this needs to be
done to test whether dambos really have denser stands.
The claim about the advantages of 9 inch spacing and
row planting needs to be confirmed in the absence of
fertilizer and, if confirmed, extended fo farmers.

Scheme planting is done with a special stick that
pushes the roots into the wet ground. If advantageous,
are farmers using this in dambos?

Harvesting in the scheme is done with a sieckl. and
cutting off the entire plant, while in the dambos a
knife is used and only the heads are cut off. We did
not learn the advantages of each method.

The trend is for dambo rice cultivation to become more
important and for people to devote more labor to it.
Acreage may also increase if people have access to more
dambo but people in system number four do not have
the capital to hire labor and it is a shortage of
labor (and capital to employ labor) that constrains
more extensive rice cultivation (need to check with
evaluation or land husbandry to see how much more
dambo is available for rice).

I 15 .


There are few schemes, so scheme cultivation is not
part of the farming system for most farmers in this

5. Groundnuts have diminished in acreage and importance
due to the emergence of rice and continuing yield

6. High ridges are common because of waterlogging, and
the only crop that is usually flat planted is rice.


The survey concentrated on crop production and off-farm
activities, so almost no information was collected on
livestock. This environment is is noted for its grazing
opportunities but cattle were not investigated.

Other (including off-farm)income:

1. Cash income from off-farm sources is probably greater
than from crop sales.

2. One of the two most common off-farm sources of income
is casual labor (ganyu) on the fields of other local
smallholders, often in dambo or scheme rice. This work
becomes essential vh;en the household runs out of its
stored supply of staple crops, something that happens
many years (or every year). Ganyu may be for cash or
in direct exchange for maize. For this reason, ganyu
should be seen as part of a subsistence pattern rather
than a capital-generating one.

3. The other major off-farm income source is fishing and
fishing-related. Men have an advantage over women in
their ability to take advantage of these opportunities
since fishing and the fish trade are considered to be
men's activities. This is related to the need for
seasonal migration to the best fishing areas. Since
fishing and the fish trade are profitable (cash as
well as providing a prized relish), married couples
have an definite advantage over female-headed
households in this important off-farm area. The usual
pattern in married households is for the husband to
take part in fishing or fishing-related activities
while the wife remains in the village and, if the
husband's absence is during the cropping season, takes
care of crop husbandry).

Both men and women (primarily women) participate in
another fishing-related source of income selling
maize flour to the fishermen. Since the fishermen are
concentrating on fishing and are living temporarily
in an ecology unsuited for maize or cassava, they must
bring from home or purchase a continual supply of
staple flour for nsima.

- 17 -

This is an opportunity that many women utilize,
sometimes buying maize and pounding it or having
it milled into mgaiwa (whole kernel flour) for resale
to fishermen.

4. Brewing and selling beer and making and selling
handicrafts (canoes, hoe handles, baskets, etc.)
may be important on-farm sources of income to some
households, beer being especially important to women.

Constraints to agricultural production:

1. Lack of capital/credit to hire labor or buy
fertilizer (except for some).

2. Lack of access to more land (except for SOMe ).

3. Lack of labor to extend cultivation by increasing
acreage for those with access to more land.

4. All of the pests and diseases that are common in the
area (see list above).

5. The delicate balance between drought and excessive

Recommendation for Project Activities:
Opportunities for agricultural production:

1. Provide credit for fertilizing"local" maize. (The ADD
is doing this as of the 1981/82 season). Research the
responsiveness of "local"maize to fertilizer in this
environment so that appropriate recommendations may be
made. (The present series of on-farm trials is a
beginning here). Instruct in the correct timing of
fertilizer application since some who have purchased
S/A in the past have applied too late. Encourage the
formation of credit groups for those who only want this
minimum package. Otherwise, the existing clubs might
be hesitant to admit these farmers who are less
credit-worthy (because they have less stored wealth).

2. Instruct in improved rice husbandry. Some suggestions
for specific practices are contained in this report,
and there is a Chinese Agricultural Mission that
should have many suggestions and might provide

- 18 -

3. Investigate the effects of intercropping rice with
maize. If the effects on maize yields are minimal
this might be an effective way for smallholders to
increase their acreage with minimal labor (since the
banking of maize prepares the ground for the rice).

4. Introduce mosaic-resistant varieties of cassava and
instruct in the importance of planting disease-free

5. Investigate the potential for intercropping a cash
crop (with high value per weight or volume) in cassava
or "local" maize fields. Grams, chickpeas, additional
cowpeas, pigeon peas, etc. may be possibilities but
more research (on-farm trials) are needed before
making any recommendations.

The advantages of this have been noted earlier, and any
cash generated from this or rice sales may provide
the reserve with which the household could repay its
fertilizer credit (since increased "local" maize
production might not provide a saleable surplus but
just assist farmers in reaching subsistency levels).
This recommendation is especially suitable for female-
headed households who are unable to participate in the
profitable off-farm activities of fishing or the fish

6. Seek out areas for more small-scale rice schemes. The
addition of one or more plots (one eighth acre each)
of rice in one of these schemes enriches the house-
holds involved and is appropriate for the majority of
smallholders. Schemes must be kept small enough for
local management, and participation should be reserved
for local residents.

7. Be very cautious about recommending UCA. The past
two drought years were disastrous for those local
adopters of UCA, although the earlier maturing "local"
maize survived better.

8. Encourage ADMARC or extension agents to stock small
quantities of legume seeds (cowpeas, grams, etc.) so
that farmers can buy them to plant. Shortage of seed
is a significant constraint to the production of
minor legumes.

- 19 -


Comparison with systems number one, two, three and four:

This system shares an ecological environment with system
number four (dambo and lakeshore) but is similar to number
three in being more capital/credit intensive, in being
oriented toward cash crops (UCA maize and rice), and in the
socioeconomic characteristics of its constituent households.

Household composition and summary resources:

This is similar to system number three except that the
dambo: upland ratio of cultiva.,ted land is higher and the
importance of fishing-related business is greater.

Major problem and priority:

As with the farmers with system number three, these
farmers do not have a problem with subsistency but they are
still ultimately concerned with satisfying their home
consumption needs. This is why their innovations extend from
buying fertilizer for "local" maize through getting credit
for UCA (a maize that can be used for home-processed nsima).

The major problem is managerial, and the highest
priority for these farmers is choosing the most appropriate
set of enterprises and the most appropriate technology that
will satisfy their desires for secure subsistence and high

Cropping patterns,trends and income:

1. Maize is the primary crop and the preferred dietary
staple. All of these farmers have grown UCA (usually
starting in 1979 or 1980) although some may have
stopped this year because of poor yields (and returns
on their investments) the last two seasons. "Local"
maize continues to be the dominant maize, its
position reinforced by its relatively better showing
during the past two years, (This was due to the fact
that "local" is earlier maturing than UCA). It is
unclear which of the two maizes ("local" being
actually a set of varieties) actually had higher yields
under the prevailing drought conditions, but the added
risk to UCA (high credit and fertilizer inputs) added
to the uncertainty of trying a new variety have
combined to seriously erode people's enthusiasm about

- 20 -

Acreage in maize has either remained constant or
increased at the expense of cassava acreage (and
groundnuts), but some land that used to be in maize
is now in rice.

Almost all of these farmers fertilize their "local"
maize with S/A, some of them too late (when just
about to tassel). Since the need to ensure an
adequate amount of maize for nsima is still important
in motivating these higher resource farmers they
adopted UCA (some up to 4 acres) in addition to their
fertilized "local". Although disappointed in their
first attempts (since time of adoption coincided with
two drought years) these farmers remain eager for a
variety and technology that would secure a larger
maize supply, which they would use for three purposes:
home consumption, sale and payment to laborers.

2. Intercropping continues in "local" maize fields with
cowpeas (khobwe) being the primary intercrop.
Sorghum used to be commonly intercropped but it is
now more rare. If extension continues to advise
monocropping of introduced maizes, intercrcLpped
acreage will decrease.

3. Rice is the second most important crop in this system,
and this is due to its qualities as a cash crop (not
for food). Rice has been grown in this area a long
time. Farmers in system number five manage plots
(' 2' acres) in self-help schemes and may have
sizeable acreage in dambo production, although farmers
who get scheme plots usually concentrate there and
stop producing dambo rice. There may be a division of
labor within the household with one spouse (usually
the husband) managing a scheme plot and the other
still growing rice in the dambo. Some (unmarried?)
women have plots in the schemes. Labor is hired for
scheme plots as well as for maize and dambo rice.

4. Cassava acreage and production is much reduced, and
the crop remains as a snack food. Fields are poorly
weeded since labor and attention go to maize and

5. Groundnut production has diminished a lot with some
acreage and the labor going into rice. The different
trends for groundnuts distinguish systems number
three (where this is a cash crop focus) and five
(where rice takes the place as a cash crop).

- 2at -


The survey concentrated on crop production, so little
data was collected on livestock. Livestock, and cattle in
particular, probably play an important role as a means of
storing wealth and as an investment to these higher resource
people, but farmers (in the Chitundu area) noted a recent
plague had killed many cattle and mentioned that only one
man had trained oxen and a cart there. Livestock production
and constraints need to be investigated further, both
because livestock are usually significant parts of farming
systems (especially for wealthier farmers) and because they
make an important contribution to solving transport problems

Other (including off-farm) income:

Little attention was paid to this aspect of this system,
but two features are clear: these people pay a lot of
attention to maize and rice production during the cropping
season; and they undoubtedly also are involved in the
profitable fishing-related businesses.

Constraints to agricultural production:

The most obvious constraints are environmental: the
scarcity of upland, the potential for waterlogging, and
drought conditions (early stoppage of the rains) during the
past two years. Capital is provided through savings, other
income and credit access. Labor from the household is limited
but supplemented by hiring casual and contract laborers. The
other obvious constraint is a lack of direction. With the
disappointing showing of UCA the past two years, these farmers
do not know where to focus their resources other than on rice.
*That being the case they are now focusing on increasing their
rice production. These farmers need technical support (for
pest/disease control on crops and animals, research on
appropriate varieties and practices) and managerial assistance
(help in determining the optimal combinations of enterprises
to achieve both priorities: secure supply of staple foodstuffs
and higher profits).

Recommendations for Project Action:
Opportunities for agricultural production:

1. Note that all or almost all of these farmers (unclear
whether this includes wives in married couples) belong
to credit groups or farmers' clubs, already receive
credit successfully, and are in frequent contact with
extension staff. It appears from our interviews that
these farmers have less experience with credit and
extension than farmers on the plain in system number
three (but this needs to be checked with extension

- t> -

Some apply S/A fertilizer to their "local" maize too
late to be effective, and many are not enthusiastic
about purchasing chemicals, perhaps tied with their
lack of success With UCA.

2. The most important areas for immediate project action
appear to concern maize and rice. With both crops
the project needs to assess present recommendations
and extension activities and then concentrate on
spreading the correct messages.

In the case of maize there are obvious problems with
the adoption of UCA due to its poor showing when the
rains stop early. (Were the rainfall patterns of the
past two years very rare or to be expected how often?)
Is UCA the recommended variety for the lowlying
lakeshore areas? (These are questions that research
should already know the answers to.) What are the
recommended levels of fertilizer application for
"local" maize? (The set of continuing on-farm trials
will begin to provide an answer to this one.) While
farmers recover from their two bad years with maize,
the project should encourage the credit-assisted
application of fertilizer to "local" maizes, and the
project should intensify in this area its system of
on-farm trials to determine the most appropriate
recommendations. These farmers are still an
appropriate audience for the message about higher-
yielding varieties, but their confidence has been

In the case of rice there are two distinct
environments to be considered (dambo and scheme), and
the most appropriate recommendations for each need
to be clarified. Regarding fertilizer application,
for instance, is it advisable in dambos? If not,
what effect does this have on planting density and
other husbandry practices?

3. Both husbands and wives in married couples and also
unmarried women need to be taught improved husbandry
(rice and maize). Sometimes different husbandry will
be practiced by the same household in different fields,
and one reason for this is that extension advice may
be going only to one member of the household. This
may be another reason for certain practices being
carried out one way by the husband in rice schemes and
another way by the wife in the dambo.

4. Instruct farmers (both men and women)in management
factors. Several farmers requested explanations about
weights and measures (perhaps tied with the
introduction of the metric system), the criteria for
grading produce by ADMARC, prices for various inputs
and outputs, and the costs for various services. In
general the farmers expressed .their unease at not
knowing the economic conditions of the markets in which
they operate.


This lack of knowledge is an effective
constraint to their making optimal use of their

5. Upgrade the instruction of the extension staff so
that they will appreciate the importance of telling
the farmers more and will know enough to tell the
farmers what is needed.

6. Investigate the location of buying and selling points
to see whether more could be added to decrease the
distances people must travel. The project should
encourage people to use their own savings to
purchase inputs as well as using credit. People
(in Chitundu) complained that people who bought their
fertilizer had to bring it in themselves, while
fertilizer acquired on credit was brought in by
extension. However the inputs are acquired, the project
should facilitate their adoption, and transport
becomes especially significant in this area where
roads are poor and carts few.

7. If there are wheelbarrows that are not too expensive
the project might consider offering them as a credit
item. They would facilitate transportation of rice
seedlings and inputs.

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