About MaSSP

Vegetables displayed by sellers at the Zomba market

Local market, IFPRI/Julia Behrman, 2010

While Malawi has made progress in recent years, it still ranks among the world’s least developed countries.  The country has experienced strong per capita GDP growth, averaging around 3.5 percent per annum from 2005-2011. However, despite this strong growth, poverty has only decreased from 52.4 percent to 50.7 percent since 2005, according to official estimates. Furthermore, although progress has been made in recent years, undernutrition remains a challenge with a stunting prevalence of 37 percent of children under five.

Agriculture is the main source of income for the majority of the population. Thus, growth in agriculture, particularly in smallholder-based agriculture, is critical to meeting the country’s food security and poverty reduction goals.

The IFPRI Malawi Strategy Support Program (MaSSP) works closely with the Malawian government, particularly the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (MoAIWD), Department of Agricultural Planning Services (DAPS), to support these goals and facilitate and promote evidenced-based dialogue and decisionmaking, by providing both technical and analytical support. Particular emphasis is placed on supporting Malawi’s Agricultural Sector-Wide Approach (ASWAp) – an agenda designed to accelerate agricultural growth through prioritization and harmonization of public resource allocation.

Supporting Evidence-based Agriculture Policy (SEBAP)

“Supporting Evidence-based Agriculture Policy” (SEBAP), funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is MaSSP's main activity. SEBAP works to promote evidence-based decision-making through the strengthening of policy research capacities in the Ministry, generate policy relevant research outputs, and enhance the impact of research outputs in decision-making through effective policy communication in support of ASWAp implementation. SEBAP was designed in line with the in-country development strategy of USAID.

In addition to our technical support to MoAIWD, capacity strengthening, and policy communications activities, SEBAP's policy research is organized around three key themes:

  1. Strengthening Agricultural Markets and Institutions
  2. Improving Social Safety Nets and Breaking the Cycle of Hunger
  3. Priorities for Agricultural Investment


Other IFPRI Projects in Malawi

New Alliance Policy Acceleration Support: Malawi  

The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Water Development is leading many of the high-level policy reforms that the government of Malawi committed to in 2013 under the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Malawi. The new USAID/Malawi initiative, the New Alliance Policy Acceleration Support: Malawi project (NAPAS: Malawi), will enable staff from the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy project (FSP) to provide policy advisory support to MoAIWD to better enable the government of Malawi achieve these policy reforms. FSP is an applied global agriculture and food security policy research project funded by the Bureau of Food Security of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Michigan State University, the International Food Policy Research Institute, and the University of Pretoria. Using additional financial resources provided by USAID/Malawi through the NAPAS:Malawi project, two FSP staff members—Dr. Flora Nankhuni, Senior Policy Advisor and Dr. Athur Mabiso, Policy Analyst—have been placed within the Department of Agricultural Planning Services (DAPS) to work for three years.

The twin objectives of the NAPAS:Malawi project are to improve the agriculture investment climate in Malawi and to enable increased commercialization of Malawi’s agricultural sector. In order to enable substantial progress to be made towards these objectives, the project has three technical components:

  • Provide technical support for policy formulation;
  • Engage in communication activities to inform debate on agriculture and food security policy issues, and
  • Address gaps in analytical expertise constraining agricultural policy reform.

Download NAPAS Brochure here.