Policy Note 29: The Case for Structured Markets in Malawi

A new IFPRI-Malawi Policy Note examines the types and potential contributions of structured markets—organized and formal places where farmers, traders, processors, millers, banks and others may enter into regulated trading and financial arrangements. Structured markets are being promoted by the Government of Malawi as a solution to inefficiencies in the crop export market. Currently, exporters from Malawi do >> Read more

Policy Note 28: Priorities for Irrigation Investment in Malawi

With an already high (and fast growing) population, a high dependence on rain-fed agriculture, and high vulnerability to the effects of climate change, Malawi's food security status is at risk, especially if strategies to enhance food production under a changing climate are not prioritized. Irrigation offers a key solution to food insecurity in the face >> 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

Policy Note 26: Under what policy and market conditions will Malawi’s smallholder farmers switch from tobacco to soyabean?

Malawi has the potential to reorient its smallholder agriculture away from being primarily directed towards assuring household subsistence and self-sufficiency to increased commercial production, including of soybean. This study shows how this shift would reduce the country’s reliance on tobacco and diversify its agricultural production and exports. As a legume, furthermore, soybean would also have >> 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

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

Policy Note 23: The national extension policy of Malawi – lessons from implementation

The Government of Malawi put in place the National Extension Policy in 2000 to promote the provision of quality agricultural extension services. Fifteen years after its introduction, while action has been taken on some components, many key elements of the policy remain largely unimplemented. This note outlines the evidence on why much progress has not >> Read more

Policy Note 22: Is Malawi’s mix of maize market policies ultimately harming food security?

High levels of poverty and food insecurity combined with weak food markets have prompted many African governments for political and socioeconomic reasons to assume the responsibility of ensuring adequate domestic food supply at reasonable prices. Malawi is no different, with significant government intervention in the maize market on both the production and marketing sides. Interventions >> Read more

Policy Note 21: Promoting Exports of Low-Aflatoxin Groundnut from Malawi

Malawi’s National Export Strategy is built on the premise that the promotion of exports and domestic value addition can contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction in a meaningful way. Groundnut shows particularly high potential because regional demand is strong and Malawi’s farmers are already quite familiar with improved methods for growing the crop. In spite of institutional weaknesses that make exporting time >> Read more

Policy Note 20: Challenges to soya export promotion: An institutional analysis of trade policy in Malawi

This policy note summarizes the results of the full study on the challenges of broadening Malawi's export base from largely tobacco-dominated to include other high potential commodities like soya.  This study hypothesizes that there are institutional barriers impeding consistent growth in soya exports and seek to identify the critical ones and undertakes an institutional analysis of the soya export >> Read more