Cassava, the 21st century crop for smallholders? Exploring innovations along the livelihood-value chain nexus in Malawi

Content Type: 
Curated Content
Author or Institution as Author: 
Center for Rural Development (SLE) Berlin

Dr. Klaus Droppelmann; Peggy Günther; Franziska Kamm; Ulrike Rippke; Carolin Voigt; Bartosz Walenda

Date of publication: 
March, 2018
Edition or Version: 
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Cassava is the second-most important staple food crop after maize in Malawi. The availability of different varieties of cassava allow for both commercial use and household consumption of cassava to hedge against food insecurity. Malawi is prone to drought due to climate change vulnerability, poor agricultural practices and high population growth making cassava, a drought-resistant crop, an attractive option.

This study sets out to answer the question of whether cassava is, indeed, the 21st century crop for smallholders. The focus lies on smallholder production systems in Nkhotakota District on the shores of Lake Malawi and in the rural vicinity of Lilongwe, the capital city.

Key findings are:

  • small holder farmers face multiple constraints in increasing productivity
  • Seed supply is currently poorly organised
  • The best way to address issues is to focus on improving seed supply and the extension system
  • After small holder farmers' productivity is sufficiently boosted, increased marked sales and thus household income have the potential to contribute to food and nutrition security 
Other Partners: 

Advisory Service on Agricultural Research for Development (BEAF) of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in cooperation with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and GIZ Malawi

Climate Change Malawi Value Chain Smallholder
Contact name (for further information): 
Dr. Klaus Droppelmann
Contact email (for further information): 
Contact institution (for further information): 
Seminar für Ländliche Entwicklung | Centre for Rural Development

Droppelmann, Dr. K. and Günther, P. and Kamm, F. and Rippke, U. and Voigt, C. and Walenda, B. 2018. Cassava, the 21st century crop for smallholders? Exploring innovations along the livelihood-value chain nexus in Malawi, SLE Postgraduate Studies on International Cooperation for Sustainable Development, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin


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