The economic impact of adult mortality and morbidity on smallholder farm households in Malawi.
This thesis comprises three essays on “The Economic impact of adult mortality and morbidity on smallholder farm households in Malawi.” The first essay estimates the levels of technical efficiency of AIDS-affected and non-affected smallholder farm households, and examines the technical efficiency differentials. The study uses time-varying and timeinvariant inefficiency models of production. The results show that among both female and male headed households, for both affected and non-affected households, fertilizer and seeds are the only variables that contribute significantly towards technical efficiency. The mean efficiency levels of affected and non-affected households are statistically not different. The second essay examines the maize production differentials between AIDS-affected and nonaffected farm households using the difference in difference estimation method. The results show that, for both affected and non-affected households, the mean maize production levels are higher during 2006/07 compared to 2004/05 However, the difference between the mean maize production levels of affected and non-affected households over the 2004/05 and 2006/07 period is not statistically significant. The third essay examines the coping strategies used by households facing food security problems. The results from the multinomial logistic model show that during 2004/05 and 2006/07, the most dominant coping strategy used by both AIDS-affected and non-affected households facing food security problems, is buying food from market. This is followed by casual labour, obtaining food from relatives and friends, eating unripe maize before harvest, and irrigation farming. The results from logistic discriminant analysis function indicate that, for all households, ordinary coping strategies are dominant among food-insecure households with a total score of close to 80 percent, much higher than survival strategies at around 20 percent during 2004/05.