Malawi

IFAD Asset Request Portlet

Country

Malawi

14

Projects Includes planned, ongoing and closed projects

US$ 653.67 million

Total Project Cost

US$ 350.48 million

Total IFAD financing

2,012,750

Households impacted

The Context

Over the last decade, the southern African nation of Malawi has made important economic and structural reforms and sustained its economic growth rates. Nevertheless, poverty is still widespread and the economy remains undiversified and vulnerable to external shocks. The country has an estimated population of 16.8 million (2014).

GDP grew by 5.7 per cent in 2014 but slowed to 2.8 per cent in 2015 as the country suffered from the dual challenges of bad weather and macroeconomic instability. Flooding in the south followed by a countrywide drought led to a contraction in agricultural production. The production of maize, the key crop in terms of food security, fell by 30.2 per cent year-on-year. As a result, an estimated 2.8 million people (17 per cent of the population) were unable to meet their 2015/2016 food requirements.

More than a third of rural households earn their livelihood only from farming or fishing. An additional 25 per cent combine work on their farm with other jobs, largely in agriculture. Poorly paid agricultural labour is the main additional source of income. Lack of economic opportunities and the seasonality of rainfed agriculture leads to labour shortages during the critical periods of the cropping season, with underemployment for the rest of the year.

The Strategy

In Malawi, IFAD loans focus on promoting sustainable agricultural practices and integrating the private sector and smallholder farmers in value development.

Activities support long-term growth paths for two groups:

  • poor smallholder farmers located in areas with medium to high potential who have the potential to achieve economic independence; and
  • marginal farmers and vulnerable households, including households headed by women, youth and orphans.

Key activities include:

  • strengthening agriculture as farmers’ main livelihood by intensifying production, enhancing natural resource management and improving access to profitable markets;
  • securing and diversifying the livelihoods of marginal farmers and vulnerable households by supporting effective use of their limited resources and promoting non-farm employment opportunities;
  • strengthening local institutions and resources at community and household levels.

Participating in policy dialogue with other donors and the Government ranks high on IFAD’s agenda in Malawi. Priority areas for advocacy include market-led agricultural growth to reduce poverty, incentive frameworks for agriculture and the need for consistency in policy implementation, especially at the grass-roots level, to foster the emergence of private-sector operators and farmers’ organizations.

Country Facts

In 2015, Malawi suffered from the dual challenges of adverse weather and macroeconomic instability. Flooding in the south followed by countrywide drought caused a decline in agricultural production.

More than a third of rural households earn their livelihoods only from farming or fishing. An additional 25 per cent combine work on their farm with other jobs, largely in agriculture.

Since 1981, IFAD has supported 12 programmes in the country for a total of US$224.9 million, benefiting 1,452,950 poor rural households.

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Projects and Programmes

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A holiday gift with impact: crowdfunding solar-powered water access in Africa

December 2020 - NEWS
This holiday season, some of the world’s poorest families in Somalia and Malawi look set to access water through innovative solar energy products financed through a crowdfunding project set up by IFAD.

New investment to commercialize small-scale farming for 300,000 Malawians

December 2019 - NEWS
At least 300,000 highly vulnerable Malawian families will benefit from a new US$125.4 million programme that aims to increase their productivity and strengthen their market access.

Call for Proposals: Integrated fish-rice-vegetable food systems

August 2019 - NEWS
This Call for Proposals is to identify the recipient of a three year grant financed by IFAD for a total amount of up to US$3.5 million to implement a project titled: Integrated fish-rice-vegetable food systems for improved livelihoods, food and nutrition security and climate resilience in Malawi, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire: Scaling-up lessons learnt from Cambodia (or Asia).

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Amidst drought and flooding, Malawian farmers look to diversify their diet

November 2016 - STORY
An IFAD-supported project is encouraging Malawian farmers to eat the food they produce - instead of over relying on maize and other food products that they are forced to buy.

Learning new horticultural techniques to raise income

May 2010 - STORY
Lobi is one of the most remote areas in Malawi. Located west of the market town of Dedza along the Mozambican border, it takes one hour travelling on a track road to reach the area.

Farmers’ associations: unleashing innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit

February 2009 - STORY
In the Lilongwe district of Malawi, a farmers’ association has made a significant difference in the lives of the local community by providing training and enabling its members to negotiate higher prices for their crops.

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This analysis examines the dynamics of youth employment in agriculture and the agri-food system in Tanzania and Malawi.

Research Series Issue 4 - The effects of smallholder agricultural involvement on household food consumption and dietary diversity: Evidence from Malawi

May 2016
This paper investigates how household agricultural involvement affects food consumption and dietary diversity in rural Malawi. It analyses the relationship between on-farm income shares and the caloric consumption levels and shares across food groups. It finds that while food consumption and dietary diversity increase with agricultural involvement, the quality of diets does not improve. It highlights the importance of income diversification to dietary diversity and the need for investments in nutrition-sensitive agricultural value chains, nutrition education and crop diversification programmes.

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