Analysis of Critical Factors Influencing Performance of Fish Farmer Organisations in Dowa and Mchinji District in Central Malawi

This study is being carried out to determine critical factors that affect performance of fish farmer organisations in Malawi as part of the RUFORUM Community Action Research programme (CARP). Five fish farmer organisations with a total of 70 farmers in Mchinji and Dowa districts in the Central Region of Malawi are being used as case studies. Specific issues that are being studied include organisational set up and development, characterisation of the organisations, organisational structure and systems and socioeconomic characteristics and profiles of members within the organisations. Preliminary results showed that the fish farmer organisations have loose governance structures and systems which inevitably could ‘defeat’ collective action. It was also noted that the organisations did not have institutional design principles that act as guide for organisations to achieve intended outcomes. Results also showed that income generation, household food security and access to credit facilities were major motivating factors that acted as incentives for becoming members of fish farmer organisations. This implies that members had various expected benefits from the organisations which if not fulfilled may have significant negative influence on performance of the organisations. Achievement of such benefits could come to realisation if farmer organisations are empowered to undertake sustainable collective action.
Cette étude est menée pour déterminer les facteurs critiques qui affectent la performance des organisations de pisciculteurs au Malawi dans le cadre du programme communautaire de recherche-action de RUFORUM (CARP). Cinq organisations de pisciculteurs avec un total de 70 agriculteurs dans les districts de Mchinji et de Dowa dans la région centrale du Malawi sont utilisées comme études de cas. Les questions spécifiques qui sont à l’étude comprennent la situation organisationnelle et son développement, la caractérisation des organisations, la structure organisationnelle et les systèmes, et les caractéristiques socioéconomiques et les profils des membres au sein des organisations. Les résultats préliminaires ont montré que les organisations de pisciculteurs ont des structures et des systèmes de gouvernance mobiles qui, inévitablement, pourraient empêcher l’action collective. Il a également été noté que les organisations n’avaient pas les principes institutionnels de conception qui agissent comme guide pour les organisations afin d’atteindre les résultats escomptés. Les résultats ont également montré que la génération de revenus, la sécurité alimentaire des ménages et l’accès aux facilités de paiement étaient les principaux facteurs de motivation qui ont agi comme des incitations à adhérer aux organisations de pisciculteurs. Ceci implique que les membres ont divers avantages attendus des organisations qui, s’ils ne sont remplis, peuvent avoir une forte influence négative sur la performance des organisations. La réalisation de ces avantages pourrait être possible si les organisations paysannes sont habilitées à procéder à une action collective durable.
Extended abstract under Strengthening S&T Capacity in Africa
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
Southern Africa
RUFORUM Conferences and Workshops
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
Printed resource

The 2012 RUFORUM Biennial Conference is the third in the series. The main objective of the Biennial conferences is to provide a platform for agricultural research for development stakeholders in Africa and beyond to actively exchange findings and experiences, while at the same time learning lessons towards improving performance of the agricultural sector and ultimately people’s livelihoods. The biennial conference is RUFORUM’s most comprehensive meeting for the diversity of stakeholders in agriculture. It is especially dedicated to graduate students and their supervisors, grantees in RUFORUM member universities and alumni. It is a platform for peer review, quality control, mentorship, networking and shared learning. The third Biennial Conference was attended by 657 participants. This record contains an extended abstract accepted under the theme Value Chains and Innovation Platform.