Adoption and impact of climate smart maize varieties in southern Africa

The economy of many African countries depends on the agricultural sector. However, the sector has performed poorly in recent years, posing challenges to countries’ development goals of ensuring food security and reducing poverty. This is due in part to over-dependence on rain-fed agriculture, as well as climate change and variability. Droughts can severely impact crop >> 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

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 19: The Challenge of Africa’s Nitrogen Drought: some indicators from the Malawian Experience

This MaSSP Policy Note by Stephen Carr describes how years of continuous cultivation with little or no use of external inputs to restore soil nutrients has resulted in a situation in which crop production in a number of African countries is now limited by nutrient deficiencies – nitrogen, in particular, which is crucial to healthy plant growth. This widespread problem >> Read more

Working Paper 2: Political economy of agricultural producer support in Malawi

Malawi has struggled to achieve sustained agricultural growth over the last four decades. As such there is need for increased investment and supportive policies if greater success is to be realized. As a prerequisite to identifying the role that improved policies and investment can play, a better understanding is needed of the incentives that producers >> Read more

Policy Note 17: Budget Allocation, Maize Yield Performance, and Food Security Outcomes Under FISP

Food security in Malawi is generally equated with adequate maize production as the country’s main staple crop accounts for more than 60 percent of total food consumption. Malawi has a long history of subsidizing agricultural inputs, either as a general policy to ensure national-level food security or as a response to poor harvests. As such, >> Read more

Policy Note 15: How Best to Target Agricultural Subsidies?

Over the past few years, Malawi made remarkable progress toward increasing its national maize production and achieving food security owing to its Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP). Likewise, the implementation of the subsidy program is continuously being improved upon as the country learns from past experience. Recent evaluations of the Fertilizer Input Support Programs (FISP) >> Read more

Policy Note 5: The Impacts of Agriculture Inputs Subsidy in Malawi

Achieving food self-sufficiency on a national basis is a high priority for the government of Malawi. The goal of the Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) is to enhance food self-sufficiency by increasing smallholder farmers’ access to and use of improved agricultural inputs, thereby boosting the incomes of resource-poor farmers. This policy note summarizes the results >> Read more