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The MwAPATA Institute is an independent agricultural policy think tank in Malawi. The Institute is engaging the Government of Malawi, private sector, and civil society stakeholders in applied policy analysis, policy outreach, capacity building, and policy coordination.  

Please take 5 minutes to learn about us in this video.

Then scroll further to learn more!

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Rural poverty, malnutrition, inequality and social exclusion remain major challenges in Malawi. It is widely understood that sustained agricultural productivity growth will be necessary to address these challenges, transform the economy, and raise living standards because of extensive forward and backward linkages between agriculture and the rest of Malawi’s economy. We have a plan to attain the level of agricultural growth that can transform the country’s economy.


About: Meet the Team

Meet Our Team


William is a policy researcher and analyst specializing in agriculture, environment and natural resources for sustainable livelihoods. William has had a successful career in program management with local and international institutions on donor and Government of Malawi funded programs in food security, climate change, environment, natural resources and human capital development.  He has a Master of Business Administration specializing in Corporate Governance from Malawi Institute of Management, read more...


Prof.  Levison Chiwaula - Research Director

Levison is a Professor of Economics at the University of Malawi (UNIMA).  He holds a PhD in Economics from Leibniz University of Hannover in Germany and has over 15 years of experience in higher education teaching and research.  Prof. Chiwaula is a seasoned researcher with a track record of winning competitive research grants and publishing in renowned peer-reviewed journals. He has led and participated in several projects funded by IDRC, DFID, AERC, PEP, and the EU and has also provided consultancy services to several governmental and non-governmental organizations..


Ms. Mercy Chirwa - Finance and Administration Manager

Mercy is an accomplished Finance, Grants Management and Administration Specialist with over 12 years of practical experience. She has worked with various International NGOs and managed funds from donors like USAID, DFID, EU, Flanders, Norway, UN, JICA and GIZ. Mercy holds a Master of Business Administration from UNICAF University and Bachelor of Business Administration majoring in Accounting from University of Eastern Africa-Kenya. As Finance and Administration Manager, she has overall strategic and operational responsibility for financial and operations management of MwAPATA Institute. 


Mr. Lemekezani Chilora - Research Analyst

Lemekezani holds a Master’s degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the University of Pretoria. Prior to Joining MwAPATA, Lemekezani worked as a Monitoring and Evaluation intern for the Civil Society Agriculture Network and as a graduate trainee at Japanese Tobacco International. He has experience developing data collection tools, data collection, data management, analysis, and reporting. His research focuses on land transactions (sales and rental), climate change, agricultural and food policy, nutrition, and environment and natural resource valuation.

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 Dr. Anderson Gondwe - Research Fellow

Anderson holds a PhD in Economics from Stellenbosch University, and an MA in Economics and Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences (Economics), both from the University of Malawi. He is experienced conducting empirical analysis on agriculture, labor markets, poverty and inequality using Malawian household data sets. He previously worked for the International Food Policy Research Institute, contributing evidence-based policy solutions to sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition in Malawi. He also has experience in Malawian financial markets, the most recent being arranging debt and equity funding for transactions.


Prof. Julius H. Mangisoni - Adjunct Senior Research Fellow

Prof. Mangisoni is an agricultural economist and graduate of the University of Malawi (BSc and MSc) and the University of Minnesota, USA (PhD). He has worked with the Ministry of Agriculture, Planning Division and taught courses at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. He is currently Professor of Agricultural Economics at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR). He has published research in top journals related to land tenure systems, agricultural and food policies, forestry, water & irrigation, poverty, market & price analysis, agricultural risk, soil and water conservation, and rural & social development.


Dr. Greenwell Matchaya - Adjunct Senior Research Fellow

Greenwell is an International Economics Researcher at the  International Water Management Institute and a Coordinator for the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support systems for Southern Africa Greenwell has previously worked at the University of Reading-UK where he worked as Research Fellow exploring the nexus between agricultural policy, intellectual property rights, and agricultural research and investment. Greenwell provides technical assistance for MwAPATA's research and outreach efforts.


Mrs. Mercy Phiri Mikanda - Communications Officer

Mercy has spent the past 13 years working in strategic communications, knowledge management, public and community engagement, media and public relations, social marketing, community mobilization, professional events management as well as document editing, designing and formatting. She has worked with development programs focusing on Agriculture, Capacity Development, Governance, Digital Health and Supply Chain Management. Mercy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Blantyre International University.


Mrs. Joyce Minofu - Research Analyst

Joyce holds MSc in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR)  and University of Pretoria. She successfully completed some research studies whose results were published and presented to different conferences. Joyce's interests are in agricultural policy, natural resource economics and rural development. Previously, Joyce worked with several individuals and organizations in research and program management. Before joining MwAPATA, Joyce worked as a Research Associate (Adoption, Impact and Markets) at International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

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Dr. Maggie Munthali - Research Fellow

Maggie holds a PhD in Geography from University of Pretoria, South Africa. She has vast experience in natural resource management, forest management, agroforestry and integrated soil fertility management (ISFM). Prior to joining MwAPATA Institute, she worked with the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining as Principal Forestry Officer. She is a member of the African Forest Forum (AFF), African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment (AARSE), International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and American Society of Agronomy(ASA), among others.


Mr. Ernest Mfune - Finance &  Administration Assistant

Ernest is an experienced Administration & Finance Officer with over 7 years of progressive experience working with local and international Organizations. He is responsible for all accounting transactions and day to day administrative operations for the Institute. Ernest has a strong accounting and administrative background with vast knowledge in project and contract management.  Prior to joining MwAPATA Institute, He worked with Sightsavers International as the Finance and Support Service Officer. He is a member of Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi (ICAM) and Malawi Accountants Board (MAB)


Mr. Boniface Nankwenya - Research Analyst

Boniface holds an MSc in Agricultural and applied Economics from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) and the University of Pretoria. Prior to joining MwAPATA, he worked as a Research Analyst for WorldFish and as a Research Analyst for the NEPAD Regional Fish Node/SanBio at LUANAR. He has led in implementation of research and development projects on inclusive business models and value chains, impact analysis, climate smart agriculture and policy analysis.


Mrs. Clara Nsena - Program Assistant/Receptionist

Clara holds a Diploma in Business Management (ABE) and Secretarial Studies (City n Guilds). She has experience working for international institutions like Management Sciences for Health (MSH) where she worked as Administrative Coordinator before joining MwAPATA.  Her role supports all program activities and managing the front desk. Clara also provides support to the office of the Executive Director by managing his diary among others.  Previously, she also worked for Med Health as Personal Assistant to Managing Director.    Currently, Clara is studying Bachelor of Commerce in Tourism Management with Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS).


Dr. Christone Nyondo - Research Fellow

Christone holds a PhD in Economics and an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Kent (UK). He has a first degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Malawi.  Prior to joining MwAPATA, Christone worked as a Policy Analyst in the New Alliance Policy Acceleration Support (NAPAS) project in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (MoAIWD). He joined the NAPAS project, from the MoAIWD where he worked as a Chief Economist.  


Mr. Zephania Nyirenda - Research Analyst

Zephania is an agricultural economist holding a Master’s Degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics from the University of Malawi and University of Pretoria. Previously, he worked as a Policy Research Analyst for the New Alliance Policy Acceleration Support (NAPAS) project in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and as a Research Analyst at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). He has vast experience in development of data collection tools, field data collection, data management and analysis and report writing. His research focuses on poverty, land tenure, agricultural and food policy, and nutrition.   


Mrs. Dinah Salonga - Research Analyst

Dinah is an agriculture economist holding of Masters Degree in Agriculture and Applied Economics majoring in Agricultural Policy Analysis from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) and the University of Pretoria. Dinah has worked with Opportunity International Bank of Malawi (OIBM) and GIZ before joining the MwAPATA Institute. In addition, she also worked as a freelance research assistant on various consultancies. She has experience in research, project management and banking.


Mr. Garnet Sibu - Driver/Office Assistant

Garnet provides support to all staff in the area of transportation and general duties in the office.  He is responsible for driving the Institute vehicles on official business and ensuring that Institute vehicles are always in good running condition. He is responsible for providing administrative support for the smooth operation of the office among other duties.


Milu is professor of international development in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, Michigan State University (MSU). He holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from MSU, and MA and BA degrees in Economics from the University of Nairobi. Milu worked as a Research Fellow with Tegemeo Institute, Egerton University in Kenya (2004-07), and as an Economist in the Ministry of Planning and National Development in Kenya (1997-2003). As Principal Investigator at MwAPATA, Milu is the Coordinator of MSU sub-grants with MwAPATA, PolSAT, ORG and Purdue University. At MSU, he is principal investigator of DFID-funded Agricultural Policy Research in Africa in Nigeria, and the USAID-funded SERA BORA project in Tanzania.


Technical Support Team


Joey is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University. He lived and worked in Zambia for three years, first as a Peace Corps Volunteer living and working in farming communities, and later conducting dissertation research supported by the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute. After completing his PhD in 2017, Joey worked as an economist in the private sector from 2017-19, then joined MSU as an agricultural policy researcher living in Yangon, Myanmar from 2019-21. Joey has been seconded to MwAPATA to provide technical support for Research Fellows.


Kevin Cox - Finance and Business Development

Kevin is an accountant for the MSU Food Security Group (FSG) responsible for all accounting transactions and processes.  He works hand in hand with the business manager as well as providing technical support to the MwAPATA Institute Finance and Administration Manager.


Scott Frump - Business Development

Scott is the MSU Food Security Group (FSG) Business Manager responsible for HR Transactions, pre-award proposal submissions, sub-awards, transition to Share-Point-based reporting system and administrative oversight of FSG business activities.  Currently he works hand in hand with the MwAPATA Institute Finance and Administration Manager to oversee all finance and administration of the institute.


Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan

In this Strategic Plan, we are committing ourselves to conducting policy research with a view to guide agriculture productivity and commercialization now and in the future, and support the development of the National Transformation 2063 document.


The Strategic Plan defines the direction to be taken in the short, medium and long terms and it provides direction on the Institutional and Research Development Agendas of MwAPATA.

Download the full document to learn more about our mission and how we go about making the changes we want to see.

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MwAPATA Institute is headed by a Board of Directors that is led by the Chairperson.  The Board gives strategic guidance to the Executive Director and Secretariat of the Institute for implementation of the strategic plan and work plan. The Executive Director also receives guidance from the Advisory Board and is supported by the Director of Research and the Finance & Administration Manager in the running of day to day operations of the institute while receiving technical support from Michigan State University.


MwAPATA Institute’s commitment to long-term, inclusive, and transformational partnerships is of paramount importance to its success and sustained policy influence. 


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