Determinants of sustainable innovation performance by smallholders dairy farmers in Malawi

S Chindime*, P Kibwika, MGG Chagunda

*Corresponding author for this work

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The smallholder dairy farmer’s performance and ability to improve productivity for increased incomes, is driven by their level of innovativeness. Knowledge on the nature, degree and frequency of innovations provide opportunities for supporting the competitive advantages of smallholder dairy farmers to sustainably break away from the poverty cycle. Little attention has been given to measuring the performance and drivers of innovation for improvement of smallholder dairying in Malawi. Without understanding innovation, it is difficult to make policies and provide targeted, impactful support to smallholder farmers. This study is based on a cross sectional survey of 193 smallholder farmers in Lilongwe and Blantyre milk shed areas of Malawi. Innovation indices were computed to measure the innovation performance and further analysed to determine the drivers and barriers of innovations. Four categories of innovations namely; feeding, breeding, market, and animal health innovations are presented. The innovation index for the smallholder farmers was less than half (0.37) which is relatively lower in comparison to developed industries. The key driver was access to credit along with training, access to information and networking. For efficient and sustainable management of innovations, clear policies should be put in place to ensure formal structures for supporting continuity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1379292
JournalCogent Food and Agriculture
Early online date14 Sept 2017
Publication statusFirst published - 14 Sept 2017

Bibliographical note



  • drivers and barriers
  • innovation domains
  • innovation index
  • regression
  • smallholder dairy

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