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A cost-benefit analysis of climate-smart agriculture options in Southern Africa: Balancing gender and technology

Mutenje, Munyaradzi Junia, Farnworth, Cathy Rozel, Stirling, Clare, Thierfelder, Christian, Mupangwa, Walter, Nyagumbo, Isaiah
Ecological economics 2019 v.163 pp. 126-137
agricultural conservation practice, climate change, climate-smart agriculture, cost benefit analysis, crops, decision making, drought, economic sustainability, farmers, gender, households, income, risk, soil, water conservation, women, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia
Climate change and extreme weather events undermine smallholder household food and income security in southern Africa. Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) technologies comprise a suite of interventions that aim to sustainably increase productivity whilst helping farmers adapt their farming systems to climate change and to manage risk more effectively. Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and a mixed methods approach were used to assess the likelihood of investment in various CSA technology combinations. The data were drawn respectively from 1440, 696, and 1448 sample households in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, covering 3622, 2106 and 5212 maize-legume plots in these countries over two years. The cost-benefit analysis and stochastic dominance results showed that CSA options that combined soil and water conservation management practices based on the principles of conservation agriculture (CA), improved varieties, and associations of cereal-legume crop species were economically viable and worth implementing for risk averse smallholder farmers. A dynamic mixed multinomial logit demonstrated that women's bargaining power, drought shock, and access to CSA technology information positively influenced the probability of investing in CSA technology combinations. This study provides evidence of the importance of cultural context, social relevance and intra-household decision-making in tailoring suitable combinations of CSA for smallholder farmers in southern Africa.