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

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

Working Paper 4: Does irrigation have an impact on food security and poverty? Evidence from Bwanje Valley Irrigation Scheme in Malawi

The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of irrigation on household food security and poverty using a case study of Bwanje Valley Irrigation Scheme in Malawi. Data used in the analysis were collected from 412 households – 169 participants in the irrigation scheme and 243 non-participants. Due to the non-random selection of >> 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

2-Part Training: Developing and Mapping Food Security and Nutrition Indicators

MaSSP will hold a two-part training course in Lilongwe on April 7-11 and 14-17. The course prepares participants to use Malawi’s third integrated household survey (IHS3) data to develop indicators of food security, nutrition, and poverty using Stata® software and then displaying the indicators in geospatial maps of Malawi using ArcGIS® mapping software. This course is >> Read more

Policy Note 9: Poverty in Malawi: Current Status and Knowledge Gaps

As in many developing countries, poverty reduction is a primary development goal in Malawi. The country is committed to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which seek, among other things, to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Over the years, the Malawian government has pursued poverty reduction efforts through various strategies emphasizing economic growth, infrastructural development, and >> 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

Policy Note 4: The Determinants of Food Insecurity in Rural Malawi

Achieving food security is high on the agenda of the Malawi government. Notably, Malawi’s Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) recognizes that food security is a prerequisite for sustained economic growth and poverty reduction. However, a good understanding of the determinants of food insecurity is required to inform and guide the design and execution of effective >> Read more

Policy Note 3: Analyzing the Nutritional Impact of Policies in Malawi

Reducing malnutrition, including undernutrition (insufficient calorie intake) and micronutrient deficiencies (insufficient intake of vitamins and minerals) is a high priority for Malawi and many developing country governments, closely linked to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. However, effective policy intervention requires knowing what causes malnutrition and how different development policies affect the nutritional status of the >> Read more