Smallholder Farming Systems in the Digital Age: Smartphone App for Measuring Diets and Time-use in Zambia

Gendered time use has major implications for household well-being and agricultural productivity, In particular, gendered time use effects food security and nutrition, as women are largely responsible for feeding the family. The use of mechanized farm tools can decrease the amount of time required for production, allowing households to improve their agricultural yields through improved >> Read more

Journal Article: Beyond agriculture versus non-agriculture: Decomposing sectoral growth–poverty linkages

This journal article addresses a key debate regarding Africa’s development, which is often cast as “agriculture versus non-agriculture”, with agriculture’s proponents arguing that agricultural growth is more effective at reducing poverty. This “dual economy” perspective overlooks the heterogeneity within and synergies between these two broad sectors. Recent studies decompose agriculture into subsectors and find that >> Read more

Conference Paper: Understanding compliance in programs promoting conservation agriculture

Land degradation and soil erosion have emerged as serious challenges to smallholder farmers throughout Southern Africa. To combat these challenges, conservation agriculture (CA) is widely promoted as a “sustainable” package of agricultural practices. Despite the many potential benefits of CA, however, adoption remains low. Yet relatively little is known about the decisionmaking process in choosing >> Read more

Malawi GHI 2016: Sustaining Progress through a Time of Crisis

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger globally, regionally, and by country. Each year the GHI is calculated and used to assess progress. By calling attention to the issue, we hope that the GHI will trigger action to reduce hunger in Malawi and around the world. This year’s >> Read more

The Food-Energy-Water Nexus Video

A new video was developed by the Food-Energy-Water Nexus Project in Malawi, a collaboration of Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Hohenheim, Germany, and the International Food Policy Research Institute. Food security, energy, and water constitute basic needs of households. Commonly, interventions of policymakers or other stakeholders which target the necessities of households only focus on >> Read more

Compact2015 Malawi Roundtable Discussion: reports available

In the coming lean season Malawi is likely to face its largest humanitarian crisis of the decade. This dire situation raises the question of what must be done to protect the most vulnerable from the lasting effects of acute undernutrition, as well as how to sustainably address chronic hunger and undernutrition in this country. Compact2025, >> Read more

Policy Note 25: Are Malawi’s maize and soya trade restrictions causing more harm than good? A summary of evidence and practical alternatives

Since the early 2000's, the government of Malawi has used trade restrictions, export bans in particular, to control trade flows for maize and soya, among other crops. This note explores how effective maize and soya export bans have been in achieving their stated goals. It also considers the unintended side effects of export bans, including >> Read more

Working Paper 15: Achieving food security and industrial development in Malawi: Are export restrictions the solution?

Restrictions on exports of staples or cash crops are frequently imposed in developing countries to promote food security or industrial development goals. By diverting production to the local market, these policies aim to reduce prices and increase the supply of food or intermediate inputs to the benefit of consumers or downstream industrial users. Although export >> Read more

Working Paper 14: Household resilience to drought: The case of Salima District in Malawi

This study identifies factors that affect resilience to drought among smallholder farmers in Salima, one of the districts frequently affected by drought in Malawi. The study contributes to the existing literature by constructing a drought resilience index (DRI) and uses it to determine the effect of drought resilience on the welfare of farming households. Principal >> Read more

Policy Note 24: Have market policies turned Malawi’s large-scale farmers into subsistence maize producers?

In the last two decades, food security policy in Malawi has focused on enhancing the maize productivity of smallholder farmers, primarily through the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP). While this has raised maize yields, production shocks, such as droughts and floods, continue to result in wide-spread food insecurity in the country. In 2014/15, for example, >> Read more