Mapping the major challenges of crop transition in Malawian agriculture

Examensarbete på kandidatnivå

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Bibliographical item details
Type: Examensarbete på kandidatnivå
Title: Mapping the major challenges of crop transition in Malawian agriculture
Authors: Johansson, Eric
Hegardt, Johan
Hedenblad, Leonard
Lillö, Martin
Sonnelid, Max
Gerle, William
Abstract: Tobacco cultivation has several disadvantages on both an individual and national level, creating long-term social, economic, health, and environmental drawbacks. Tobacco is the largest agricultural export good in Malawi. The sunflower with its high nutritional value and positive economic externalities, seems to be a suitable crop to cultivate in the country. Although sunflower cultivation is increasing, it is at a slow pace and it still constitutes a modest fraction of Malawi's agricultural sector, not even covering the domestic demand. This indicates that there are challenges associated with the transition between the two crops. With the lack of research covering this area, it seemed appropriate to investigate which these challenges are and how they can be solved. Purpose This study aims to develop a deeper insight into the agricultural sector in Malawi, focusing on the two crops tobacco and sunflower. These insights will be used to understand why sunflowers are not grown to a greater extent in Malawi and, more specifically, the main underlying challenges of switching from tobacco to sunflower cultivation. Moreover, this study will investigate solutions to overcome these transition challenges. Theoretical framework The theoretical framework mainly focuses on relevant economic theories and models such as supply and demand, externalities, and path dependency. Since these theories are often derived from scholars in developed economies, which Malawi is not classified as this chapter also has a special emphasis on developing economies. Human capital, institutions, and managing risk are some areas described within this area. Method The method was based on an inductive approach, which means that the theoretical framework, as well as the literature, was chosen based on the data collected through the interviews. This was well suited to a thesis which is largely based on information gathered from interview subjects during a field study in Malawi. In addition, a literature study was conducted. Results and implications The thesis resulted in the identification of five challenge areas for Malawian farmers to switch from tobacco cultivation to sunflower cultivation: the farmers' short-term economic incentives, limited financial resources, education, and information, gender inequality and corruption and deficient governmental institutions. Furthermore, solutions to these challenges were proposed. It is found that the challenge of farmers' short-term economic incentives could be solved by implementing tax on tobacco and subsidising sunflower seeds. The subsidisation is a subject for corruption and it is therefore suggested to be earmarked to mitigate the risk for corruption. To further overcome the identified challenges, it is found that creating farmer cooperatives, making educational efforts towards women to further empower them, and invest in irrigation systems could facilitate the transition towards sunflower cultivation.
Keywords: sunflower;oil;Malawi;market failure;corruption;tobacco;agriculture
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Chalmers tekniska högskola / Institutionen för teknikens ekonomi och organisation
Series/Report no.: TEKX04-20-22
Collection:Examensarbeten för kandidatexamen // Bachelor Theses

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