Permaculture Adoption Among Malawian Farmers: A Positive Deviance Inquiry
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AbstractMalawi is a country rich in underutilized natural resources, which could be used to reduce household food and nutrition insecurity in the country. The burgeoning Permaculture community in Malawi, including officials in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, is seeking, through Permaculture, to make better use of resources and assets that already Malawi already possesses. Despite the growing numbers of Permaculture practitioners, however, little is known about the influences that affect farmers’ decisions to adopt or not to adopt. This positive deviance inquiry seeks to inform the Permaculture community of the constraints and barriers to Permaculture practice, the coping strategies adopters employ and the benefits adopters receive. The data analysis indicates that Permaculture adoption is associated with age and land ownership but not with income or years of education. Quantitative and qualitative data shows that food and nutrition security scores are associated with Permaculture adoption scores, weakly with acres owned and not with income. Such findings are contrary to contemporary thought on yield-improving techniques and increased household food security, and suggest that farmers who adopt Permaculture, despite limited income, land holdings, or education have both increased their yields and improved their food and nutrition security.