First release: February 8, 2022
The State President of Malawi, H.E. Lazarus Chakwera, has suggested the need to redesign Malawi's agricultural productivity strategy, which is currently centered primarily on fertilizer subsidies. This brief lays out evidence-based suggestions to accomplish this with short-, medium-, and long-term policy changes. Streamlining and allowing farmers more flexibility in what they buy and from whom are options that can be implemented in the near-term. Investing in research and extension in the medium-term can meaningfully and sustainably improve Malawian productivity. Extension agencies can share scientifically gained knowledge with farmers, and facilitate farmers learning from each other. Long-term investments in infrastructure, education and job training allow Malawi to grow into a more business-enabling, productive economy. Most importantly, a wide range of options are feasible in comparison to the current budget allocations to input subsidies.
Investments that enable farmers to learn from extension workers and each other is essential to reduce Malawi's dependency on fertilizer subsidies.