A Qualitative Analysis of Seed Practices and Food Security in a Participatory Agroecology Program in Malawi

Authors: Noelle LaDue*, Cornell University, Chipiliro Dzanja, Soils, Food, and Healthy Communities, Esther Lupafya, Soils, Food, and Healthy Communities, Lizzie Shumba, Soils, Food, and Healthy Communities, Laifolo Dakishoni, Soils, Food, and Healthy Communities, Paul Dakishoni, Soils, Food, and Healthy Communities, Mercy Lupafya, Soils, Food, and Healthy Communities, Gliselia Kalilombe, Soils, Food, and Healthy Communities, Mwapi Mkandawire, Soils, Food, and Healthy Communities, Cristina Hara, Soils, Food, and Healthy Communities, Victoria Kumwenda, Soils, Food, and Healthy Communities
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Development, food systems
Keywords: Agroecology, Participatory,
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download


This research is an analysis of seed practices, including provisioning, saving, and exchanging, among sixty smallholder farmers in two different areas of Malawi. The analysis is based on semi-structured interviews conducted by members of the organization Soils, Food, and Healthy Communities (SFHC) in partnership with students from Cornell University. The goal of this poster is to convey the relationships that exist between seed practices and food security, observed from farmers who have been learning agroecological practices and had access to a seed loan from SFHC. Qualitative analysis of the interviews has shown that there are differences between regions, potentially due to differences in environmental and social context. Seed practices and food security have a relationship which is multi-faceted and dependent on the context of each household. The political history of Malawi, and the subsequent privatization of the national seed industry, are important to consider for their potential impacts on the ability of farmers to provision for seeds. The implications of this work bring to light the value of participatory methods associated with agroecological farming methods.

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