Exploring Adoption Effects of Subsidies and Soil Fertility Management in Malawi

First release: May 3, 2021

The Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) has been implemented since 2004, yet yields for key crops have remained low, which has limited the programʼs effect on food insecurity and poverty.  The poor response is partly attributed to poor soil health and low adoption rates of soil and water conservation practices. Using data from a decade-long nationally representative panel, we analyze joint adoption effects of input subsidies and integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) on crop income and nutrition. Participation in FISP is positively correlated with adoption of ISFM practices, including conservation agriculture, soil and water conservation, and organic fertilizers. Joint use of input subsidies and ISFM practices is positively correlated with higher crop income and improved household nutrition. Policy proposals to address low productivity and nutritional insecurity are highlighted.

Planting basins improve productivity on steep terrain and reduce fertilizer needs

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Makaiko Khonje

Christone Nyondo

Julius Mangisoni

Lemekezani Chilora

Jacob Ricker-Gilbert

William J. Burke