The hardwork for one semester had finished. I handed in my thesis on May 14, 2008 with the title Breaking the Trap? Hybrid Maize for Household Food Security: A Counterfactual Analysis from Southern and Central Malawi. Despite the fact that I was able to catch the deadline, I wasn't really satisfied with my work. I wish that I had more time with it (as usual.. :)).
A bit different from some of my friends, I took a country which is not my own country as a case study. This became the first challenge as I had limited idea what was going on in this particular country before I came to do my fieldwork for two months there. But, it was amusing in the sense that I experienced doing fieldwork with the team from different nationalities, talking with the local people who can't speak English that I found amazing as we can understand each other with out knowing each other languange (we had intrepreter though, but sometimes there were cases that I should went out to the field alone with the locals who sometimes able to comunicate more in English and sometimes not).
OK, now I am starting with the writing process itself. When I started to write my thesis, I was one step behind of my classmates who continued from their research proposal. I should start from the very begining as : I changed my topic!! I needed to do that as the data that i had collected in the field about my previous topic was very limited, and it was impossible to do regression with this number of observations. OK, i should stop complaining before this post become too long as there are long lists of complaints. :)
This is the abstract of my thesis:
Malawi has changed her position from one of the most food insecure countries to one that is now able to export and donate maize for her neighbors. Subsidy of agriculture inputs and favorable rainfall in 2006/2007 growing season are two explanations of this. Nevertheless, whereas food security at the national level was achieved, some households are still experiencing lack of food.
This study concerns how the condition of food security is changed in the group of “new” adopters of hybrid maize and fertilizer. The term “new” refer to farmers who grow hybrid maize in 2006/2007 cropping season, while they did not grow in the 2005/2006 cropping season. Propensity score matching and difference-in-difference method are used in this study by utilizing two years longitudinal data of 154 households from Southern and Central Malawi. This study first analyzes factors affecting hybrid maize and fertilizer adoption, followed by a counterfactual analysis of the adoption of hybrid maize and fertilizer on land allocated for maize, yield per hectare, total harvest per household that will be translated to the income, and maize available per capita within household.
The result of the logit model of adoption shows that membership in a farmer organization and households’ access to credit increase the probability that farmers will adopt the package, while female headed household have lower probability to adopt. In addition, the counterfactual analysis indicate that adoption of hybrid maize would be able to prevent each household member from being hungry for 6-7 months. However, the result also shows that growing hybrid maize is not profitable unless inputs are being subsidized, as farmers have a small amount of land. Dividing the households into some categories, we found that land constraint and female headed household will not enjoy the benefit in term of increase of food available for each member as the result of uptaking the package, while secondary education will boost the benefit.