|dc.description.abstract||This study sought to examine the effects of soil fertility replenishment (SFR) adoption on household
security and poverty reduction in smallholder farming households of central and southern Malawi by
assessing food security, asset status, and household income generating activities in Kasungu and
Machinga Districts during 2007.
The results showed that households had been able to significantly increase maize production by an
extra 382 kg per year in Kasungu and 242 kg per year in Machinga Districts, which constitutes
approximately 35% and 22% of average household maize requirements for the year for each district,
respectively. This reduced the critical annual hunger periods from 3.46 months to 2.80 months per
year in Kasungu and from 4.31 months to 3.75 months in Machinga. Respondents also reported a
significant increase in assets and an increase in income. Despite these positive changes, households
were found to still be living in extreme poverty. Selling physical assets was the most common
response to shocks and any increase in income was allocated to the purchase of food, household
supplies, and other items necessary to immediate survival.
This study revealed that while food security is paramount to the sustainable livelihoods of smallholder
farmers, livelihood security and poverty reduction depend on more than increased food production.
SFR technologies are fulfilling their primary role as a means to food security, but their adoption does
not lead to significant livelihood improvements. Achieving lasting impacts requires that initiatives take
an integrated approach and address not only household food production, but the multifaceted
dynamics of social institutions, markets/economy, and policy. The long-term impacts of the current
agroforestry programs in the study areas will emerge only with time. Livelihood improvements will
depend on several factors. First, market inefficiencies must be remedied and economic barriers must
be broken down. Second, the challenges identified by the respondents, especially access to resources
and training, need to be addressed in a participatory way that promotes education and empowerment.
As these two issues are tackled, households will become better equipped to manage the complexities
that arise from SFR adoption and livelihood diversification. It is recommended that future research and
initiatives should focus on identifying and removing economic barriers to markets, addressing farmeridentified
challenges such as access to seed, water, and education and training, supporting
households in managing multiple livelihood strategies, and continuing research to identify appropriate
agroforestry species and technologies.||en_ZA