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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Labor Shortages on Small Landholdings in Malawi: Implications for Policy Reforms
Authors:Alwang, JeffreyISNI
Siegel, P.B.
Periodical:World Development
Geographic term:Malawi
Subjects:labour shortage
land scarcity
small farms
Labor and Employment
Economics and Trade
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
External link:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0305-750X(99)00065-0
Abstract:Smallholder agriculture in Malawi presents a paradox. Landholding sizes are extremely small, yet evidence suggests that many smallholders neglect their own fields as they seek work as casual labourers, at low wages, to obtain cash or food. This neglect leads to low yields on their own farms as crucial farming activities are delayed or not conducted. The resulting low returns to labour and land contribute to household food insecurity and a vicious circle of poverty. In this paper, a simple linear programming model of representative smallholder households is used to investigate sources of relative scarcity of labour and land in Malawi. Several scenarios are run to reflect the multiple constraints faced by these farmers. The findings provide a clear signal to policymakers and research and extension institutions that these constraints are all linked, and addressing one cannot be effective without addressing the others. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.