Farming Systems and Rural Livelihoods

You are here


International Postgraduate Course

Farming Systems and Rural Livelihoods Analysis

Farming systems in transition

To be announced

Malawi, Africa

Pictures website.png


In collaboration with Sustainable Intensification of Mixed Farming Systems (SI-MFS) initiative of the OneCGIAR, the PE&RC graduate school again organizes this field course (previously run in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Uganda and Ghana) on Farming Systems and Rural Livelihoods Analysis (FSRLA) in rural Africa.

The focus of this edition of the FSRLA course is on faming systems in transition, as climate change, population growth, land use change, and changes in markets require a transformation of current food systems. Smallholder farmers in Africa, the chief producers of food for Africa’s rapidly growing rural and urban populations, are faced with great challenges in this transformation process. How can they improve their food security situation, produce more marketable surpluses in a context of rising inputs costs, climate change and increased pressure on land and water?

Course objectives

This course is meant to provide skills and methods for the analysis of (the dynamics of) farming systems and rural livelihoods in Africa. Typically, these skills and methods integrate agro-ecological analyses with understandings of the social organization of agricultural production, poverty and food security, and the differential ways in which the wider socio-economic environment impacts on diverse farming households (for instance, the importance of rural-urban linkages, socio-cultural orientations in rural livelihoods, farm investment patterns, labour allocations, etc.).
Special attention will be given to agricultural system change and rural food security in the face of climate change, population growth and social and economic change.

Course set-up, activities and expected outputs

This is an intensive, interdisciplinary course in which participants are familiarized with different tools and concepts of Farming Systems and Livelihoods Analysis. Detailed participatory field surveys, including interviews with farmers, will be combined with classroom and computer exercises.
Students will work in groups to conduct systems analysis of farming systems and explore findings using a variety of modelling approaches.
The overall goal is to understand livelihood strategies of rural families, and their capacity to adapt to current changes in market, climatic, environmental dynamics in the context of demographic change.

General information
Target Group The course is ideally suited for PhD students and post-docs of Wageningen University, as well as (junior) staff of institutes of the OneCGIAR initiative, working on and within (smallholder) production systems, rural livelihoods, and the effects of global change at the regional, national and local level
Group Size Min. 20 / Max. 30 participants
Course duration 13 days
Language of instruction English
Frequency of recurrence Once every 3 - 4 years
Number of credits 3 ECTS
  • Katrien Descheemaeker (PPS, Wageningen University & Research)
  • Gerrie van de Ven (PPS, Wageningen University & Research)
  • Ken Giller (PPS, Wageningen University & Research)
  • Jens Andersson (PPS, Wageningen University & Research)
  • Simon Oosting (APS, Wageningen University & Research)
  • Aart van der Linden (APS, Wageningen University & Research)
  • Jeroen Groot (FSE, Wageningen University & Research)
Location Malawi, Africa
Accommodation Accommodation and full board catering is included in the fee of the course (accommodation will be based on room sharing)


Fees (based on previous edition) 1
PE&RC / WASS PhD candidates with an approved TSP € 750,- € 800,-
PE&RC postdocs and staff  € 2.050,- € 2.100,-
All other academic participants € 2.130,- € 2.180,-
Non academic participants € 3.000,- € 3.050,-

The course fee includes accommodation, all meals, course materials, coffee/tea, and water. It does not include beverages in the bar.
2 The Early-Bird Fee applies to anyone who REGISTERS TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE START OF THE COURSE

More information

Dr. Claudius van de Vijver (PE&RC)

Registration of interest

At this moment, this course is not scheduled yet. However, if you register your interest in this activity below, we will inform you as soon as the course is scheduled and registration of participation is opened.