Are Increases in Maize Production in Malawi Due to Favourable Climate or the Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP)?
The impacts of climate change and climate variability on the water and agriculture sectors in Malawi prompted the Government to implement in 2005 an adaptation program, the Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP), to support the production of maize, the staple food crop. This program has subsidised maize seed and fertilizer to support dryland smallholder maize production. This paper provides a robust, spatially explicit, analysis of the dependence of observed maize yield on climate and uses it to assess the significance of the impact of FISP on yields in Malawi. The analysis was conducted across three maize varieties by applying the GROWEST plant growth index model to monthly climate for eight agricultural production zones. The analysis shows that FISP has made a significant contribution to increased yield beyond the impact of variations in climate. This addresses the misconception that the increases in maize yield after 2005 were due only to favourable climate conditions. This misconception has fuelled debate about the efficacy of FISP and its eligibility for continued government financial support. It is envisaged that this analysis could assist the Government of Malawi in assessing the impacts of projected climate change on maize production and the viability of ongoing investment in FISP to support improvement in food security under a changing climate.
KeywordsAdaptation Maize Food security Spatially explicit yield modelling GROWEST
The first author wishes to thank the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Australian National University (ANU) and the GBI office in Malawi for the academic, material and financial support to carry out this study as part of her Ph.D. studies.
- Chinsinga, B. (2007). Reclaiming policy space: Lessons from Malawi’s fertilizer subsidy program. Paper presented at the World development Report Workshop, Institute of Development Studies, 21–24 Jan 2007.Google Scholar
- Chirwa, T. G. (2010). Program evaluation of agricultural input subsidies in Malawi using treatment effects: methods and practicability based on propensity scores. MPRA Paper No. 21236. Accessed 20th Dec 2016. http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/21236/.
- Chirwa, E. (2008). Land tenure, farm investments and food production in Malawi. In Institutions and Pro-Poor Growth (IPPG) research programme. Discussion Paper No. 18. University of Manchester, Manchester.Google Scholar
- De Fraiture, C., Wichelns, D., Rockstrom, J., Kemp-Benedict, E., Eriyagama, N., Gordon, L. J., et al. (2007). Looking ahead to 2050: Scenarios of alternative investment approaches. In David Molden (Ed.), Water for food, water for life: A comprehensive assessment of water management in agriculture (pp. 91–145). London, UK/ Colombo, Sri Lanka: Earthscan/IWMI.Google Scholar
- Denning, G., Kabembe, P., Sanchez, P., Malik, A., Flor, R., Harawa, R., et al. (2009). Input subsidies to improve smallholder maize productivity in Malawi: Toward an African green revolution. PLoS Biology, 17(1), e23.Google Scholar
- De Schutter, O. (2013). Subsidies in the global food system II: Malawi’s FISP—Success or Stumbling Block? United Nations special report. Accessed 18 Nov 2016. http://futuredirections.org.au/publications/food-and-water-crises/28-global-food-and-water-crises-swa/1299-subsidies-in-the-global-food-system-ii-malawi-s-fisp-success-or-stumbling-block.html.
- Dongarra, J. J., Moler, C. B., Bunch, J. R., & Stewart, G. W. (1979). LINPACK Users’ Guide. SIAM.Google Scholar
- Dorward, A., Chirwa, E., Slater, R., Jayne, T., Boughton, D., & Valerie, K. (2008). Evaluation of the 2006/07 agricultural input subsidy program, Malawi: Final Report, London: School of Oriental and African Studies.Google Scholar
- Faurès, J., Svendsen, M., & Turral, H. (2007). Reinventing irrigation. In D. Molden (Ed.), Water for food, water for life: A comprehensive assessment of Water Management in Agriculture. Earthscan and International Water Management Institute: London and Colombo.Google Scholar
- Fiwa, L. (2015). Improving rainfed cereal production and water productivity in Malawi: Modelling field management options in response to current and future climatic conditions. Accessed 5th Feb 2017. https://lirias.kuleuven.be/bitstream/123456789/493765/1/Lameck_FIWA.pdf.
- Frenken, K. (2005). Irrigation in Africa in Figures: AQUAStAt Survey—2005 (Vol. 29).Google Scholar
- Giertz, A., Caballero, J., Galperin, D., Makoka, D., Olson, J., & German, G. (2015). Malawi—Agricultural sector risk assessment. In Agriculture global practice technical assistance paper. Washington, D.C.: World Bank Group, Accessed 10th Dec 2016. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2016/01/25799223/malawi-agricultural-sector-risk-assessment.
- Government of Malawi. (2006). National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA). Ministry of Mines, Natural Resources and Environment.Google Scholar
- Government of Malawi (GoM). (2010). Malawi CAADP compact to support the successful implementation of the Agricultural Sector Wide Approach. Malawi: Lilongwe.Google Scholar
- Government of Malawi (GoM). (2011a). Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II (MGDS II): From poverty to prosperity. 2011–2016. Ministry of Economic Planning and Development.Google Scholar
- Government of Malawi (GoM). (2011b). Malawi agricultural sector wide approach (ASWAP): A prioritised and harmonised Agricultural Development Agenda. 2011–2015. Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.Google Scholar
- Heisey, P. W., & Smale M. (1995). Maize Technology in Malawi: A green revolution in the making? In CIMMYT Research Report No.4. Mexico, D.F.: CIMMYT.Google Scholar
- Hutchinson, M. F., Nix, H. A., & McTaggart, C. (2004). GROWEST version 2.0. Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra.Google Scholar
- Hutchinson, M. F., Mckenney, D. W., Lawrence, K., Pedlar, J., Hopkinson, R., Milewska, E., et al. (2009). Development and testing of Canada-wide interpolated spatial models of daily minimum/maximum temperature and precipitation for 1961–2003. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 48, 725–741.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hutchinson, M. F., Nix, H. A., & McMahon, J. P. (1992). Climate constraints on cropping systems. In C. J. Pearson (Ed.), Field crop ecosystems of the world (pp. 37–58). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
- Hutchinson, M. F., & Xu, T. (2013). ANUSPLIN versions 4.4 user guide. Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.Google Scholar
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (2014). Climate change 2014: Synthesis report. In Core Writing Team, R. K. Pachauri & L.A. Meyer (Eds.), Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, 151 pp.Google Scholar
- International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). (2011). Could low adoption of modern maize varieties in Malawi be explained by farmers’ interest in diverse seed characteristics? Policy Note 7. Washington, DC: IFPRI.Google Scholar
- Japan Association for International Collaboration of Agriculture and Forestry (JICAF). (2008). The Maize in Zambia and Malawi. Accessed 10th Mar 2017. http://www.apip-apec.com/ja/good-practices/files/The_Maize_in_Zambia_and_Malawi.pdf.
- Jayne, T. S., & Rashid, S. (2013). Input subsidy programs in sub-Saharan Africa: A synthesis of recent evidence. Agriculture Economics, 44(6), 1–16.Google Scholar
- Kachule, R. N. (2011). Performance of the Agricultural Sector in Malawi. Paper presented to Malawi Agricultural Sector Investment Program (MASIP) Secretariat on Priority Setting. Bunda College of Agriculture, Lilongwe, Malawi.Google Scholar
- Kumwenda, I., van Koppen, B., Matete, M., & Nhamo, L. (2015). Trends and outlook: Agricultural water management in southern Africa. Country report—Malawi. In Project report submitted to United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Feed the Future Program. Pretoria, South Africa: International Water Management Institute (IWMI).Google Scholar
- Levy, S. (2003). Starter packs and hunger crises: A briefing for policy makers on food security in Malawi. In Key findings from the evaluation of Starter Pack/Targeted Inputs Program (TIP). Department for International Development, London, UKGoogle Scholar
- Matiya, G., Lunduka, R., & Sikwese, M. (2011). Planning and costing agricultural adaptation to climate change in the small-scale maize production system of Malawi. International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). London, UKGoogle Scholar
- McKenney, D. W., Hutchinson, M. F., Papadopol, P., Lawrence, K., Pedlar, J., Campbell, K., et al. (2011). Customized spatial climate models for North America. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 1611–1622. https://doi.org/10.1175/bams-d-10-3132.
- Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MoAFS). (2012). Guide to agricultural production and natural resources management in Malawi. Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Department of Agricultural Extension Services, Lilongwe Malawi.Google Scholar
- Mwase, W. F., Jumbe, C., Gasc, F., Owiyo, T., Manduwa, D., Nyaika, J., et al. (2014). Assessment of agricultural sector policies and climate change in Malawi-The Nexus between climate change related policies, research and practice. Journal of Sustainable Development, 7(6), 195–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Nangoma, E. (2008). National adaptation strategy to climate change impacts: A case study of Malawi. United Nation development Program (UNDP): Human Development Report for Malawi.Google Scholar
- Ngwira, L. D. M., & Sibale, E. M. (1986). Maize research and production in Malawi. In B. Gelaw (Ed.), To Feed Ourselves: Proceedings of the First Eastern, Central and Southern African Regional Maize Workshop (pp. 50–56). CIMMYT: Mexico.Google Scholar
- Nix, H. A. (1981). Simplified simulation models based on specified minimum data sets: The CROPEVAL concept. In A. Berg (Ed.), Application of remote sensing to agricultural production forecasting (pp. 151–169). Rotterdam: Commission of the European Communities.Google Scholar
- Pauw, P., Thurlow, J., & van Seventer, D. (2010). Droughts and floods in Malawi. In IFPRI Discussion Paper 00962. International Food Policy Research Institute.Google Scholar
- Oxfam International. (2011). Supporting irrigation for food security in Malawi. Oxford: Oxfam International.Google Scholar
- Sahely, C., Groelsema, B., Marchione, T., & Nelson, D. (2005). The governance dimension of food security in Malawi. A Report Prepared for USAID.Google Scholar
- Stambuli, K. (2002). Long-run food security of a top-down agricultural strategy in Malawi. Surrey, UK: Surrey Institute for Global Economic Research.Google Scholar
- Tchale, H., & Sauer, J. (2007). The efficiency of maize farming in Malawi. A bootstrapped translog frontier. Cahiers D?économie et Sociologie Rurales, 82–83.Google Scholar
- United States Agency for International Development (USAID). (2013). Malawi climate change vulnerability assessment: African and Latin American Resilience to Climate Change (ARCC) program.Google Scholar