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The impact of agricultural innovation system interventions on rural livelihoods in Malawi


  • Mariam A T J Mapila
  • Johann F Kirsten
  • Ferdinand Meyer


This study, conducted in central Malawi, assessed the way a research intervention using an agricultural innovation system affected rural livelihoods. Propensity score matching was used to establish one village as a control, against which the impact of the intervention on two study villages [0]could be measured. Using the Enabling Rural Innovation intervention as a case study, it was established that rural livelihood outcomes pertaining to crop and livestock production, household income, asset ownership and fertiliser use were significantly improved by this intervention. In-depth analysis, however, demonstrated that although the participating households had more robust livelihoods during the intervention, when the research programme was phased out the effect was reduced. The authors recommend that local agricultural extension officers should receive more capacity building and budgetary support to ensure proper understanding of agricultural innovation systems concepts and correct application so as to sustain their positive effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Mariam A T J Mapila & Johann F Kirsten & Ferdinand Meyer, 2012. "The impact of agricultural innovation system interventions on rural livelihoods in Malawi," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(2), pages 303-315, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:29:y:2012:i:2:p:303-315
    DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2012.675699

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    1. repec:bla:afrdev:v:29:y:2017:i:s2:p:121-134 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:12:p:2216-:d:120940 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Foran, Tira & Butler, James R.A. & Williams, Liana J. & Wanjura, Wolf J. & Hall, Andy & Carter, Lucy & Carberry, Peter S., 2014. "Taking Complexity in Food Systems Seriously: An Interdisciplinary Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 85-101.

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