What does it take to scale agricultural technologies in Malawi?

A wide variety of different agricultural innovations and technologies—from seed varieties and fertilizer trees, to inoculants and aquaculture systems—have been proposed by agricultural development programs in Malawi. But how many of these technologies have, or can, be scaled up beyond a project lifecycle? What prevents them from being scaled? How can we learn from the >> Read more

Discussion Paper 1654: Limited Attention and Information Loss in the Lab-to-Farm Knowledge Chain: The Case of Malawian Agricultural Extension Programs

Agricultural extension plays a crucial role in promoting agricultural productivity, increasing food security, improving rural livelihoods, and promoting agriculture as an engine of economic growth in developing countries. Yet, for agricultural knowledge to move from theory into practice, or from lab to field, extension services provide a critical linkage directly to farmers. In a new >> 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

The Virtuous Food Security-Energy-Water Nexus: presentation of mid-term results

IFPRI will host a dissemination workshop on the Virtuous Food Security-Energy-Water Nexus in Malawi, at the Sunbird Capital Hotel in Lilongwe on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. Mid-term results will be presented from the project “Policies and institutions for achieving the virtuous Food Security-Energy-Water Nexus in sub-Saharan Africa: The case of Malawi”. The project is a >> Read more

Learning from Brazil: Adapting “Fomento” for Malawi

The impressive development of the Brazilian economy and the success of its government-run social programs, in particular those aimed at smallholder farmers, suggests that there is much to be learned from Brazil’s experience. In particular, Brazilian-style programs, modified to function in new locations, could have a significant impact on the well-being of smallholder, family farmers >> Read more

Environmentally-Friendly Cooking in Malawi

According to the 2012 NSO Statistical Year Book, more than 95% of households in Malawi rely on firewood or charcoal for cooking. The usage of wood-based fuel for preparing food has contributed to a high deforestation rate in Malawi. Forest area was reduced by more than 9% between 2001 and 2011 (see FAOStat). Using improved >> Read more

Policy Note 7: Could Low Adoption of Modern Maize Varieties in Malawi be explained by Farmers’ Interest in Diverse Seed Characteristics?

Food security in Malawi depends on production of enough maize, the country’s staple crop. In Malawi, more than 90 percent of farm households grow maize and this grain accounts for 60 percent of total calorie consumption. As opportunities for land-extensive agricultural growth are reduced, use of modern maize production technologies has become essential for producing >> Read more