Small-scale family farming to meet household food and livelihood needs is a central activity for most households in rural Malawi. Food insecurity and malnutrition are persistent problems for these farmers. Conventional agriculture techniques and maize production are the focus of most household farming, government agriculture policy, and agricultural development programs. However, conventional agriculture and maize production are expensive and unreliable in the short term, and environmentally and financially unsustainable in the long term. As an alternative, some NGOs and farmers in Malawi use permaculture, an agroecology design and low external input agriculture system. Previous research and NGO reports have pointed to benefits and constraints to permaculture adoption in Malawi.
For this dissertation, I investigated the relationships between agriculture practices and food security among smallholder conventional and permaculture farmers in Lilongwe Rural District in Malawi in partnership with two implementing permaculture organizations. Building on political ecology, the anthropology of food, structural violence, and permaculture literatures, I analyzed the impact of permaculture practice on farmers' agricultural practices, diet, and food security. This analysis showed that farmers who used permaculture experienced agricultural, environmental, livelihood, and food and nutrition security benefits in comparison to farmers who solely used conventional agriculture. These benefits were important given the context of structural violence in which farmers face systemic risk to impoverishment, food insecurity, and malnutrition. However, the benefits of permaculture use were constrained by the broader agro-food system, resource entitlements, and other structural constraints. The findings of this study add to our understanding of how smallholder farmers in Malawi can maneuver within the broader agro-food system, while pointing to potential strategies that farmers and organizations can use to try to address existing constraints.
|Commitee:||Graddy-Lovelace, Garrett, Pine, Adrienne|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-B 76/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||African Studies, Food Science|
|Keywords:||Africa, Agroecology, Food security, Malawi, Nutrition, Permaculture|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be