Food security, intra-household dynamics and manure use on resource-poor farms in northern Malawi

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Bezner Kerr, Rachel
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University of Guelph

This thesis investigates food security, intra household dynamics and changes in manure use in northern Malawi. Interviews were conducted with 56 people about food security and intra household dynamics. Available cash, labour and family supports all influenced food security. Agricultural labour was carried out by husbands and wives in 50% of households. Husbands controlled most decisions about income and agriculture. On-farm experiments using Brassica juncea and Brassica napus were conducted to compare manure extract (ME) with the local fertilizer, solid manure (SM). SM produced significantly higher yields than ME, but ME produced significantly higher yields than the control. Nitrogen uptake appeared to be one of the factors to cause this difference. ME was preferred by farmers for vegetables, due to performance and reduced labour. Farmer participatory research (FPR) helped to generate information about manure use, gaps in farmer knowledge and constraints to food security. Some drawbacks to FPR are noted.

Malawi, Food security, Manure use, Intra-household dynamics, Nitrogen uptake