Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Different strokes for different folks: 3-year doubled-up legume cropping cycles for contrasting farms in Malawi

Smallholder farming households in much of sub-Saharan Africa are distinctly diverse within and across communities. Therefore, technological interventions to address the problem of poor productivity of smallholder agricultural systems must be designed to target socially diverse and spatially heterogeneous farms and farming systems. Agricultural technologies should therefore be developed to assess farm characteristics and the ability of farmers to invest, access resources, and attain the requisite inputs. The doubled-up legume technology is one of the main intercropping systems that have been researched and promoted under the Africa RISING program in Malawi since April 2012.

This infographic explains the different ‘best bet: best fit’ pathways of intensification for contrasting farm categories (typologies). How can two sets of farmer categories – resource-poor ones (whose farms average 0.6 ha) and resource-endowed farmers (whose farms average 2 ha) in central Malawi – each be able to benefit from the doubled-up legume technology? In both cases, the best bet cropping options harness biological N2 fixation, ensure grain legume diversity for family nutrition and risk-buffered market opportunities, and concurrently add medium to high quality organic residues for soil fertility enhancement.