Cost of the Gender Gap in Agricultural Productivity in Malawi

Despite the slew of statistics about the importance of women’s participation in agriculture to feed a growing population, particularly in Africa south of the Sahara, details about the agricultural work women do and their specific constraints are not always elaborated on at the country level. We know, for example, that women comprise a large proportion >> 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

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

The unintended effects of food security policies: managing maize markets in Malawi

The price of maize has been more volatile in Malawi than in any other country in the region over the last decade. Measures to address this volatility and related food shortages can have unintended negative effects on the sector, keeping farmers in subsistence agriculture and stagnating commercial growth and agricultural transformation. However, relatively simple measures >> Read more

Risks of unpredictable trade policy to Malawi’s economic growth

For two years, Malawi has promoted a policy environment conducive to the free trade of soya. This commitment is in line with its strategy to increase the scale of production of oilseed so that processors can count on a stable supply of raw inputs for value addition. Predictable policies help actors along the value chain—from >> Read more

Working Paper 13: Strategic options for agriculture and development in Malawi

This paper considers potential strategic options for agriculture and development in Malawi in the context of the country’s current situation and the prospects the country faces. After briefly reviewing current national and sectoral policy and potential roles of smallholder agriculture in economic growth, we set out the current situation in order to consider strengths, weaknesses, >> Read more

MaSSP studies on FISP and growth-poverty linkages published as UNU-WIDER Working Papers

Malawi’s Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) has dominated agriculture and food security policy debates since its inception in 2005/06. Yet, after eight years of intensive research and program evaluation, opinion about FISP’s impact and its overall desirability remains divided. This reflects the fact that FISP is partly motivated by political reasons; that the socio-economic criteria >> Read more

Growth, Poverty and Nutrition Linkages and the Role of FISP

Since its inception in 2005/06 Malawi’s Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) has been at the center of national and global interest. After its initial success in transforming Malawi from a food insecure country to a surplus producer of maize, many African countries have followed suit, modeling their own input subsidy programs on the FISP. However, in >> Read more

Policy Note 14: Tracking the Performance of the Malawi Agricultural Sector

In June 2012, a Technical Working Group on Monitoring and Evaluation (TWG on M&E) was established in Malawi to track agricultural sector performance under the overarching sector strategy, the Agricultural Sector Wide Approach (ASWAP). The TWG on M&E brings together a wide variety of stakeholders representing the public sector, non-state actors, and development partners. Each >> Read more

Policy Note 8: Agricultural Growth, Poverty and Nutrition Linkages in Malawi

While economic growth is generally acknowledged as a necessary precondition for reducing poverty, relatively little is known about how growth and nutrition are related. Therefore, questions persist regarding how to leverage economic policies so that they have a larger impact on nutrition. In recent years the Malawian government allocated a large share of its resources >> Read more