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|Title:||Livelihoods heterogeneity and water management in Malawi: policy implications for irrigation development|
|Citation:||Challenges and Opportunities for Agricultural Intensification of the Humid Highland Systems of Sub-Saharan Africa, 2014 / Vanlauwe, B., van Asten, P. (ed./s), Ch.19, pp.235-249|
van Asten, P.
|Tawina Jane Kopa-Kamanga, Darley Jose Kjosavik, and Penjani Stanley Kamanga|
|Abstract:||A study was conducted among 92 Nkhotakota Bua watershed irrigation households in Malawi to assess the extent of livelihoods heterogeneity and its impact on household water management choices. The study determined the economic importance of irrigation in relation to other livelihoods as a heterogeneity factor. Dichotomizing the livelihoods into water and non-water dependent provided a better framework for augmenting the heterogeneity of “irrigation livelihoods”. Using a livelihood approach, the study further explored determinants of livelihood diversity and factors that affected performance of single livelihood components. The results indicated that some livelihoods are more irrigation-based than others and most irrigation households venture into other livelihood activities, notably, livestock production, rain-fed crop production, and selling dried fish. The study suggests that some livelihood components are water dependent while others are non-water dependent, e.g., livestock production is water dependent while selling groceries is not. Irrigation, like most water-dependent activities, is less profitable to non-water dependent households contributing only 24 % to their livelihood base than it is to water-dependent households with 62 % contribution. The study further notes that households allocate more resources to more profitable activities. Water-dependent households have more diversified income sources and relatively less nominal income than non-water dependent households who are better off by 29 %. Furthermore, irrigation reduces income inequalities among water-dependent livelihoods by 0.14 (Gini coefficient) but it has no significant effect among non-water dependent livelihoods. The results of this study argue against the common view that irrigation households have irrigation-based livelihoods. This view overshadows the water-dependency dichotomy of livelihood activities which has implications for water management. The study concludes that water management starts at the household level as households ration and that integrated water resources management can better be promoted from a livelihoods perspective.|
|Keywords:||Irrigation households; Integrated Water Resources Management; Livelihood diversity; Livelihoods heterogeneity; Water-dependency dichotomy; Water management|
|Rights:||© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014|
|Appears in Collections:||Agriculture, Food and Wine publications|
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