Measures to Increase Food Production and Mitigating Against Increased Food Prices: The Malawi Case Study

by BAIPHETI, M., 2008
Research Report. Centre for Poverty Employment and Growth, Human Sciences Research Council

The economy of Malawi is highly dependent on agricultural production, and development initiatives in the country have mostly relied on better agricultural production. The agricultural sector is largely comprised of smallholder farmers who produce primarily for own production and market only the surplus. As in other parts of sub-Saharan Africa, the productivity of the smallholder farming sector is quite low. While the Malawi government has long supported smallholder farmers, for the past three production seasons, Malawi has implemented a bold initiative to improve these farmers’ access to inputs and technologies through the Agricultural Input Subsidy Programme. The programme is hailed for having moved the country from a deficit producer of staple crops, especially maize, to a surplus producer. In addition, it has increased the food security status of farming households and the economic growth of the country, as it has allowed the participation of all agricultural stakeholders.