Book: Moving Malawi beyond subsistence agriculture

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Most of Malawi’s 4 million households still rely primarily on rainfed crop production with limited use of agricultural inputs for their food needs. But subsistence farming is failing to meet the dietary requirements of all Malawians: In recent years, several hundred thousand households annually have faced acute food insecurity. Insufficient harvests have resulted from either too little or too much rainfall and from limited use of inputs, while landholdings shrink as the population grows. Yet the country’s policy approach to food security continues to center on subsistence production.

In a new IFPRI book, Disentangling Food Security from Subsistence Agriculture in Malawi, we describe a development vision for Malawi in which everyone has access to the food they require, without having to rely on their own household harvests. Drawing on a range of conceptual approaches, the book explores data on food security, production, and agricultural markets in Malawi as well as past and current policies to propose a promising path toward rural economic transformation.

Photo credit: Angela Chipeta/PCI Malawi via USAID

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