Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Professor Isaac luginaah


This thesis aims to examine the impact of two livelihood strategies on household wellbeing in Northern and Central Malawi. Specifically, the study aims to examine how agroecology adoption, migration and remittance receipt impact household food security and asset poverty levels. Prior research has revealed that agroecological farming methods and remittance receipt can increase productivity, yield stability and resilience of family farmers as well as increase their incomes and propel them out of poverty. Agroecology as an alternative agricultural approach has gained momentum through some high-level FAO meetings as well as reports highlighting its potential. Migration and remittances flows have also become vital components in the livelihood and development strategies of several households in the developing world. However, relatively few empirical studies link agricultural innovations adoption, migration and remittance receipt to household food security and asset levels, partly due to data unavailability and the complexities in data requirements. This study benefited from a longitudinal data and also adopted propensity matching scores techniques to gauge the effects of agroecology adoption, migration and remittance receipt on household food security and asset levels.

Results of our analysis reveal that households that adopt agroecological farming practices, adopt migration as a livelihood strategy or receive remittances were more likely to be food secure and reports high asset levels, compared to non-agroecology adopting households, households without migrants members and non-remittance receiving households, respectively. This study makes important contributions to theory, methodology and policy. Theoretically, this study demonstrates potentials of agroecology farming practices and remittance receipts towards enhancing household welfare in terms of improving food security and poverty reduction. It also reveals that household inequalities in terms of access to land, educational status and health of household head influence adoption of agroecology. Methodologically, it reflects the superiority of longitudinal data analysis and propensity score matching techniques to establishing causality. Policy implications and directions for future research are suggested.