Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Agricultural growth and investment options for poverty reduction in Malawi:


Author Info

  • Benin, Samuel
  • Thurlow, James
  • Diao, Xinshen
  • McCool, Christen
  • Simtowe, Franklin


"Malawi has experienced modest economic growth over the last decade and a half. However, agricultural growth has been particularly erratic, and while the incidence of poverty has declined, it still remains high. The Malawian government, within the framework of the Agricultural Development Plan (ADP), is in the process of implementing the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which provides an integrated framework of development priorities aimed at restoring agricultural growth, rural development and food security. This paper analyzes agricultural growth and investment options that can support the development of a comprehensive agricultural development strategy consistent with the principles and objectives of the CAADP, which include achieving six percent agricultural growth and allocating at least ten percent of budgetary resources to the sector. Economic modeling results indicate that it is possible for Malawi to reach the CAADP target of six percent agricultural growth. However, achievement of these goals will require additional growth in most crops and agricultural sub-sectors, meaning that Malawi cannot rely solely on growth in maize or tobacco to reach this growth target. Broader-based agricultural growth, including growth in pulses and horticultural crops, will be important if this target is to be achieved. So, too, is meeting the Maputo declaration of spending at least ten percent of the government's total budget on agriculture. In fact, even under a more optimistic and efficient spending scenario, the Government of Malawi must increase its spending on agriculture in real value terms by about 20 percent per year between 2006 and 2015, and account for at least 24 percent of its total expenditure by 2015 if the CAADP goals are to be met. Although agriculture has strong linkages to the rest of the economy, with agricultural growth typically resulting in substantial overall growth in the economy and rising incomes in rural and urban areas, simply achieving the CAADP target of six percent will not be sufficient to halve poverty by 2015, i.e. achieving the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG1). To achieve this more ambitious target, agriculture and non-agriculture would need an average annual growth rate above seven percent. This growth requirement is substantial, as is the associated resource requirements, indicating that the MDG1 target may be beyond reach. However, achieving the CAADP target should remain a priority, as this goal has more reasonable growth and expenditure requirements, and will substantially reduce the number of people living below the poverty line by 2015 and significantly improve the well-being of both rural and urban households." from authors' abstract

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series IFPRI discussion papers with number 794.

as in new window
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:794

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 2033 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202-862-5600
Fax: 202-467-4439
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Agriculture; GDP; Poverty; Public investment; MDGs; Development strategies;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Omilola, Babatunde & Lambert, Melissa, 2010. "Weathering the storm," IFPRI discussion papers, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 965, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Droppelmann, Klaus & Makuwira, Jonathan & Kumwenda, Ian, 2012. "All eggs in one basket : A reflection on Malawi’s dependence on agricultural growth strategy," IFPRI discussion papers, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 1177, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Ugo Pica-Ciamarra & Derek Baker & Nancy Morgan & Alberto Zezza & Carlo Azzarri & Cheikh Ly & Longin Nsiima & Simplice Nouala & Patrick Okello & Joseph Sserugga, 2014. "Investing in the Livestock Sector : Why Good Numbers Matter, A Sourcebook for Decision Makers on How to Improve Livestock Data," World Bank Other Operational Studies 17830, The World Bank.
  4. Pauw, Karl & Thurlow, James & van Seventer, Dirk, 2010. "Droughts and floods in Malawi," IFPRI discussion papers, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 962, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  5. Douillet, Mathilde, 2012. "Trade and agricultural policies in Malawi: Not all policy reform is equally good for the poor," MPRA Paper 40948, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Mathilde Douillet, 2012. "Trade policies and agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa: Comparative analysis in a Computable General Equilibrium framework," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/45eb019724s, Sciences Po.
  7. Renkow, Mitch, 2010. "Impacts of IFPRI's "priorities for pro-poor public investment" global research program:," Impact assessments, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 31, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Johnson, Michael E. & Benin, Samuel & You, Liangzhi & Diao, Xinshen & Chilonda, Pius & Kennedy, Adam, 2014. "Exploring strategic priorities for regional agricultural research and development investments in southern Africa:," IFPRI discussion papers, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 1318, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).


This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:794. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.