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.

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

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

Maize markets symposium: event report & recommendations

On 1 October 2015, IFPRI, with support from a multi-partner planning committee, held a high-level event to explore the evidence on best practices for improving the functionality of staple food markets. Technical presentations from IFPRI, FAO, the World Bank, and IAPRI laid out evidence on the topic. Stakeholder discussions then reflected on the current realities >> Read more

Research Symposium on Making Maize Market Work for All

Last week, IFPRI, with support from a multi-partner planning committee, held a high-level event to explore the evidence on best practices for improving the functionality of staple food markets. Evidence shows that issues of inflation and price seasonality can negatively impact food security and economic growth, but that there are policy solutions for addressing these challenges. The >> 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