Working Paper 17: Localized public investment and agricultural performance in Malawi: An econometric approach

Using panel data econometric techniques, this paper evaluates how public expenditure influences agricultural performance at the district level in Malawi by empirically estimating localized expenditure multipliers for the districts. The results of the analysis show that public expenditures in agriculture have generally been positive, with variable impacts on agricultural growth at the district level. The >> Read more

Monitoring Maize Prices in Malawi: A New Report Series is Launched

Fluctuations in the price of maize—Malawi’s most important staple crop—are a huge contributor to the country’s overall food security. Providing maize price information in markets throughout the country is a critical first step to understanding and improving food security in Malawi. The Monthly Maize Market Report was developed by researchers at IFPRI-Malawi, with the main >> 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

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

FSP Research Paper 17: Crop suitability maps and an agricultural zonation scheme for Malawi

Although relatively small, Malawi is a country with significant agro-ecological diversity.  In consequence, generations of Malawian farmers have developed a variety of quite complex farming systems to exploit distinct combinations of local agricultural resources. An important implication of this variety of farming systems is that the comparative advantage of different areas of Malawi for the production >> Read more

Discussion Paper 1549: A Farm Level Perspective of the Policy Challenges for Export Diversification in Malawi: Example of the Oilseeds and Maize Sectors

The primary goal of this study was to investigate the potential to expand oilseeds, specifically soybean, as an alternative commercial crop to tobacco among Malawian farmers. A principal motivation for undertaking the study at the microeconomic level is to determine, in a theoretically consistent fashion, the type of policy and economic environment under which farmers begin >> Read more

Discussion Paper 1546: The Economic Value of Seasonal Forecasts Stochastic Economy wide Analysis for East Africa

There is growing interest within the climate change and development community in using seasonal forecast information to reduce the losses to agriculture resulting from climate variability, especially within food-insecure countries. However, forecast systems are expensive to establish and maintain, and therefore gauging the potential economic return to investments in forecast systems is crucial. Most studies >> Read more

Working Paper 16: Discretionary maize policy interventions in Malawi: An impact analysis of export bans and minimum farm gate price

This study assesses the efficacy of maize export bans in improving food security in Malawi and of minimum farm gate prices in increasing the incomes of Malawian smallholder farmers. It relies primarily on price and trade flow analysis using secondary data. In brief, the analysis shows that neither tool has been particularly effective in recent >> 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