The impact of responding to the actual constraints expressed by farmers’ experience from the Malawian inputs subsidy initiative

Rather than continue with the promotion of an agricultural strategy developed independently of the smallholder community the Government of Malawi has responded to the urgent demand from farmers for access to fertiliser to counteract the soil depletion which they see as their dominant constraint. A large section of the smallholder community in Malawi cannot afford intensifying inputs at commercial prices and so the Government subsidised them to a level affordable by a majority of farmers. A strategy was developed to provide redeemable coupons to 60% of smallholders. The result has been a sharp increase in grain production and a corresponding decline in household food insecurity.
Plutôt que de continuer avec la promotion d’une stratégie agricole développée indépendamment de la communauté des petits exploitants, le gouvernement du Malawi a répondu à la demande pressante des agriculteurs pour l’accès aux engrais à contrecarrer l’appauvrissement des sols qu’ils considèrent comme leur contrainte dominante. Une grande partie de la communauté des petits exploitants au Malawi ne peut pas se permettre d’intensifier les intrants au prix du marché. Le gouvernement les subventionne à un niveau abordable par une majorité d’agriculteurs. Une stratégie a été élaborée pour fournir de bons de réduction à 60% des petits exploitants. Le résultat a été une forte augmentation de la production céréalière et une baisse correspondante de l’insécurité alimentaire des ménages.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
Southern Africa
RUFORUM Conferences and Workshops
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Open Access
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Printed resource
"The 2010 RUFORUM Biennial Conference was the second in the series. The main objective of the Biennial conferences is to provide a platform for agricultural research for development stakeholders in Africa and beyond to actively exchange findings and experiences, while at the same time learning lessons towards improving performance of the agricultural sector and ultimately people’s livelihoods. The biennial conference is RUFORUM’s most comprehensive meeting for the diversity of stakeholers in agriculture. It is especially dedicated to graduate students and their supervisors, grantees in RUFORUM member universities and alumni. It is a platform for peer review, quality control, mentorship, networking and shared learning. This record contains an extended abstract accepted under the theme socio-economics".