Harnessing the power of big data for agricultural research and development

Today marks the official launch of the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture, a new platform which aims to harness the power of big data for agricultural research and development. This is an exciting new frontier in agricultural research-for-development. Better use of data will help drive better policy decisions, helping solve development problems more >> Read more

New study: Effects of lean-season food transfers on children’s diets and household food security

A newly published study in the Journal of Nutrition uses evidence from a quasi-experiment in Malawi to examine the effectiveness of social programs, such as food transfers, on the quantity and quality of food consumed by poor households. 

Save the date: 2017 Malawi Land Symposium

Announcing the 2nd Malawi Land Symposium & launch of the land policy initiative, “Monitoring and Evaluation of Land in Africa” (MELA) project, a pilot study in Malawi. The symposium and launch will take place on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at the Golden Peacock Hotel, Lilongwe, Malawi.

Malawi’s agriculture extension system at a crossroads: Two perspectives

If agriculture is the main lifeline for Malawi, then agriculture extension is the blood, the fuel for the engine.  In other words, without a functioning and adequately resourced extension system, agricultural growth has no path forward. In fact, during the extensive consultation process to develop Malawi’s first National Agriculture Policy in 2015, extension services were >> Read more

Policy Note 27: Localized public investment and agricultural performance in Malawi: Synposis

The contribution of public investment to agricultural productivity is well recognized as a key determinant of agricultural growth. Malawi is one of the few countries in Africa that has surpassed the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) commitment of spending at least 10 percent of one's national budget on agriculture. Policy Note 27 focuses on how public >> Read more

Using spatial data to analyze migration and employment in Malawi

Geographic information systems, or GIS, is not exactly a new concept, but there are plenty of missed opportunities to use spatial data to fill data gaps or to provide non-biased results (due to the presence of spatial autocorrelation and heterogeneity) on a variety of research topics. But first—what exactly is geospatial data? Geospatial data identifies >> Read more

Op-ed: Is smuggling of maize necessarily bad?

In recent days, MDF troops have been deployed to the northern border to prevent the smuggling of maize into Tanzania and Zambia.  While this action seems a natural response during a year of national food shortage, four factors should give us pause for thought.

New study looks at early effects of Africa RISING Program in Malawi

[Originally posted on the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets website.] “Agricultural (research) programs without rigorous impact evaluation tend to focus on rapid testing (and rollout) of technologies with high-probability adopters to provide swift feedback to donor constituencies. Such programs also tend to favor numeric accomplishments over a deeper understanding of complex development >> Read more

The impact of urbanization on food systems and policy: 2017 Global Food Policy Report now out

Today, IFPRI released one of its annual flagship publications: the 2017 Global Food Policy Report, an evidence-based analysis of the latest developments in food policy across the developing world. This year's report examines how urbanization is changing food systems, health, and development. It features chapters on the importance of investing in rural-urban linkages and value chains; the >> Read more

Harnessing markets for improved nutrition

Hunger and undernutrition are long standing problems that are difficult to address in Malawi. Can markets be leveraged­—linking producers to consumers and delivering nutrient-dense food—to improve nutrition and food security, especially of the poor? Preliminary results from a recent study, “Harnessing markets for improved nutrition: A Case Study of Zomba,” were presented by Noora-Lisa Aberman >> Read more