This paper is based on a study undertaken as part of the Malawi Starter Pack Evaluation Programme (1999–2000). Focusing on the concept of ‘sustainable agriculture’, it describes how participatory approaches can be used for impact assessment and the kind of information that emerges from such an approach. The study explored how farmers themselves perceive the concept of sustainable agriculture and how this relates to their livelihoods. Detailed information was collected from 30 villages and was used to determine variations in sustainability across regions, between different households, and trends over the last 30 years. The types of inputs required for increased agricultural sustainability were also ascertained.
Elizabeth Cromwell, Patrick Kambewa, Richard Mwanza and Rowland Chirwa with Kwera Development Centre