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The Department of Agricultural Research (DAR) in Malawi has made a modest contribution to small farmers in supplying them with recommendations they can adopt. This was largely due to the biological emphasis of the department. In order to introduce social scientists and following in recognition of the poor adoption of recommended technology, Farming System Research (FSR) was introduced in 1979. That has now changed to Adaptive Research. This also followed a major reorganization of the department into Commodity and Adaptive Research Teams. Biological scientists rely on analysis of variance in evaluating alternative technologies and while it is useful in determining the significant differences among treatment means, it is not sufficient for making recommendations to farmers. Building on statistical analysis, economic analysis evaluates alternatives in terms of their profitability attractiveness. Economic models that can be used are discussed and simple benefit cost and marginal benefit cost analyses have been demonstrated in this paper. The results indicate the necessity of economic analysis in making recommendations to farmers and how guidance to policy makers can be had from sensitivity analysis.


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