September 28, 2012

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers remarks and participates in a panel discussion with Malawi's President Joyce Banda at the event Feed the Future: Partnering with Civil Society in New York during the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2012. Transcript available on the U.S. Department of State website.

Country Profile
In Malawi, Feed the Future is targeting investments in specific regions for maximum impact. These statistics reflect the realities of Malawi and the results of Feed the Future’s work there.
Number of people living in Feed the Future target regions in Malawi (rural)
Percentage of people living in poverty in Feed the Future target regions (rural)
Percentage of children under 5 suffering from stunting in Feed the Future target regions (rural)
Percentage of population living in rural Malawi (World Bank, 2012)
Annual GDP growth (World Bank, 2015)
Producers using new technology and practices with Feed the Future’s help in FY15
Income earned by Feed the Future farmers in FY15 from agricultural sales
Children under 5 reached with nutrition help in FY15 across Malawi
Hectares tended with improved technologies or management practices in FY15
New private investment leveraged by Feed the Future in FY15
Malawi has elevated agriculture and nutrition as key national policy priorities

Malawi has benefited from decades of peace and security and the Government of Malawi has elevated agriculture and nutrition as key national policy priorities. The country has demonstrated leadership through stable governance and economic growth. However, high population density and growth, along with only a single rainy season per year, pose distinct challenges that make Malawi’s agricultural growth precarious and make the country susceptible to food insecurity.

The agriculture sector represents over 30 percent of gross domestic product and employs 80 percent of Malawi’s population. However, only 10 to 15 percent of smallholders sell grain each year. A litany of

Results by the Numbers

  • Nearly 314,000 farmers and other producers applied new technologies and management practices for the first time on their farms last year with Feed the Future’s help.

  • Producers applied improved technologies and management practices on nearly 54,000 hectares of land with Feed the Future’s help.

  • Feed the Future-supported producers sold agricultural products valued at nearly $5.8 million

Malawi’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program Country Investment Plan outlines the Government of Malawi’s plans to address food insecurity and spur agriculture-led growth. The Government of Malawi has developed a National Nutrition Policy and Strategic Plan that is closely linked with this plan. These plans coordinate food security programming at the national and community levels.

The U.S. Government works closely with the European Union to support the Government of Malawi in implementing the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition Cooperation Framework. This framework brings together the government,

Feed the Future supports the following programs, partnerships and organizations in Malawi.

  • Africa Research for Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING)

  • Agriculture Sector-Wide Approach Multi-Donor Trust Fund

  • Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa

  • Borlaug Higher Education Agricultural Research and Development (BHEARD)

  • Donor Committee on Agriculture and Food Security (DCAFS) Coordinator

  • Famine and Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET)

February 28, 2013

In Malawi, Feed the Future is working with the Ministry of Agriculture to improve efficiency and accountability in the fertilizer value chain through innovative new mobile technology that tracks data on deliveries, inventories and sales in real time.

Smallholder farmers in Malawi face many challenges in accessing high-quality inputs such as seed and fertilizer for their crops. The Ministry of Agriculture’s Farm Input Subsidy Program provides these inputs to half of the country’s three million farmers, using a paper voucher system to track thousands of shipments of seed and fertilizer as they are transported around the country. Fertilizer is particularly expensive, since it must first be imported to landlocked Malawi and then transported long distances to 1,300 rural markets, often using poor-quality roads that are impassable once the rains begin.

These difficult conditions combined with the high price of fertilizer unfortunately mean that the system for tracking shipments is highly susceptible to fraud, loss and theft. Truck drivers and others along the fertilizer value chain at times profit by diverting their cargo or diluting it with soil and sand, preventing smallholder farmers from receiving critical deliveries.

To address this problem, Feed the Future collaborated with Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture and other development partners to pilot an electronic tracking system that uses mobile phones to communicate via Short Message Service (SMS, or text messaging) between warehouses and the 1,300 market locations where fertilizer is delivered. All SMS communication is automatically documented in a centralized database, and when deliveries leave a warehouse the agriculture officers and market clerks in the field are notified of the estimated time of arrival, the truck registration number, and the number of fertilizer bags that will be delivered.

This system makes truck drivers aware that their deliveries are being tracked daily and saves farmers from traveling to markets to wait for fertilizer deliveries that may arrive several days late or not at all. It also allows the Farm Input Subsidy Program to re-position fertilizer if necessary and to notify the police if trucks do not arrive or do not deliver their full inventory.

The pilot has been so successful that the Government of Malawi is interested in expanding electronic fertilizer tracking nationwide for the next planting season. Feed the Future will also introduce a pilot e-voucher system, allowing farmers to receive their fertilizer and seed vouchers over mobile phones and redeem them with vendors, who will then be reimbursed automatically. The prospect of much speedier payments through the e-voucher system is expected to boost private sector participation in fertilizer markets.

More private sector participation means more market outlets for farmers to access the inputs they need to improve their crop yields—thus, this innovative mobile technology solution is a win for farmers, businesses and Malawi’s agriculture sector.

January 25, 2013

After an early morning departure from Tanzania, we arrived in the Malawian capital of Lilongwe in a steady rain. The rain is not always favorable for travel, but it was very welcome in Malawi after a drought during the 2012 rainy season impacted the maize crop and food security, particularly in the south. 

As I continued my first media tour as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations food and agriculture agencies in Rome I was excited to have two reporters from Malawi join the group of seven talented reporters traveling with me, five African and two European, to witness programs on the ground and help tell the Malawian story of increasing food security in Africa.

Despite the difficult situation in the south, it is an exciting time to visit Malawi because of the Government of Malawi's great leadership in improving agriculture (as well as emergency response to the drought), promising innovations in improved crops and markets for smallholder farmers, and a growing 'bottom up' community ownership of food security and nutrition programs.

Innovative Markets and Home Grown Aid

On our first day in the country we visited the Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ACE), an innovative USAID and the UN World Food Program (WFP) supported program that assists smallholder farmers to improve the quality of their crops, creates a market for them to sell in, and increases the prices they receive. Smallholder farmer Michael Banda told us how crop price updates he receives via text on his cell phone and credit receipts for properly storing his maize allowed him to increase his profits by as much as 200 percent.

"The warehouse receipt allowed me to get a loan, which I used to build a new house and pay school fees for my children," Banda told us. Even more exciting, the WFP, through its Purchase for Progress program, uses the commodity exchange to purchase much of its commodity needs locally. It was hard not to be impressed with this innovative new system that supports local farmers while increasing aid efficiency through reduced transportation costs. 

Three Crops a Year, Even During a Drought

Improving food security involves many factors and one of the most impressive examples we saw was the USAID-funded Wellness Agriculture for Life Advancement (WALA) project in Zomba District. Despite the drought of last year, participants in this multifaceted project were flourishing after using a combination of conservation agriculture, small scale irrigation, community savings and loans, and mother care groups to improve health-related behavior. I was impressed to hear a group of women farmers tell me how, thanks to conservation farming techniques and diversification, their crops survived a three-week dry spell last year while neighboring communities lost their entire harvest. 

In the course of my visit, I was very encouraged to see that the U.S. Government's food security initiative, Feed the Future, was well aligned with the strategies of the Malawian government and the UN agencies and showing real results. As Beatrice Makwende, the director of the National Association of Smallholder Farmers told me, "The future belongs to the organized." I saw this organization coming from the community again and again, and I believe it will be the key to sustained success in improving food in Malawi.

This blog post originally appeared on the U.S. Department of State's Dipnote blog. David Lane serves as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome.

Read more blog posts from the trip:

January 16, 2013

The following is an excerpt from U.S. Ambassador David Lane's remarks at a press conference in Malawi. Read his full remarks on the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome website. 

It’s an exciting time to be focused on food security and an exciting time to be in Malawi, because both President Banda and U.S. President Obama have made food security a top priority. I am pleased that Malawi is a partner in the U.S. Government’s key food security initiative, Feed the Future.  And I believe this is the perfect time to make progress, as we know more about what works in agriculture than we ever have.

Some of the most important themes that have arisen throughout the visit include the critical role of leadership of the government of  Malawi in supporting on-going agricultural development and emergency response. Just as important is that the local communities take the lead in determining what will work in their own communities, and in taking ownership of the processes. We have also seen that the best projects are those in which the goals of the government of Malawi , the U.S. government, and the international community are in alignment.

Over the past three days, we have visited a variety of sites sponsored by the United States Government through our Feed the Future initiative; the United States Agency for International Development, commonly known as USAID; the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO); the World Food Programme (WFP); and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

This trip has been particularly important, because I have been accompanied by nine journalists. Two are from Europe—one from France and one from Italy, three are from Malawi, with the other four representing Ghana, Niger, Tanzania and Uganda. The U.S. Ambassador to Malawi, Jeanine Jackson, Baton Osmani, Deputy Director of the World Food Programme, and USAID Mission Director Douglass Arbuckle also accompanied me, and shared their insights into both the challenges that Malawi faces and the progress that Malawi is making toward achieving food security.

Some of the programs that we viewed in Malawi are designed to assist people who are suffering from the drought that the country has recently experienced. It is clear that many people, particularly here in the south, need assistance, but the response is encouraging. In addition to providing technical support, USAID is contributing 20 million dollars in assistance, while the World Food Program with the Government of Malawi is on target to serve the nearly 2 million who are currently vulnerable.

For more on Ambassador Lanes's visit to Malawi, read his blog series

January 23, 2013

Our journey started with an early morning flight into the Tanzanian city of Arusha, where we were greeted by the impressive sight of Mount Kilimanjaro, whose snow covered peak dominates the landscape.

I was on my first media tour as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome. Accompanying me was a group of talented reporters from five African countries—Malawi, Uganda, Ghana, Niger, and Tanzania—plus two Europeans from France and Italy.

The U.S. Mission I lead—to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD)—introduced media tours a few years ago to give journalists an opportunity to see how countries like Tanzania and Malawi are investing in agriculture and in programs to fight hunger and improve nutrition, and how development partners like the United Nations and United States are helping them.

President Obama has emphasized that development must be characterized by transparency, mutual accountability and country-ownership. These media tours give us an opportunity to do just that, while exposing the journalists to the ins-and-outs of development work.

Over the past week, it has been easy to see how having journalists witness first-hand such projects helps them understand their critical role in telling these stories. The media can play an important role in promoting accountability for the investment commitments made by governments and development partners and, more importantly, for achieving development outcomes.

For me, this trip was also an occasion to remind myself once again what the work that we do every day in Rome, at our computers and in meetings, is really about. There is no substitute for going to villages and speaking to farmers, mothers, and schoolchildren. They are the ones who can tell us what is working in their lives, and what is not.

Stay tuned for my next blog entry, describing the Tanzanian leg of the journey and sharing some of what we have learned so far.

This post originally appeared on the U.S. Department of State's DipNote blog. David Lane serves as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome.

More from the trip: 

January 16, 2013

The following is an excerpt from remarks by Feed the Future's Deputy Coordinator for Diplomacy Jonathan Shrier at the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE) during a recent visit to India. Read his full remarks on the U.S. Department of State website.

Now, India and the United States have another critical opportunity to work together. Despite the progress made since the Green Revolution, 870 million people still go to bed hungry every day, most of whom live in developing countries in Africa and Asia. Women, children, and the most vulnerable members of society are still the most adversely affected by hunger and poverty.

Climate change is a growing global challenge, as are the related issues of shrinking natural resources, a decline in per capita cultivable land, and rising demands for food. Global partnerships, investments in research, and “game-changing” innovative solutions are needed to address these and similar challenges. Our joint collaboration over the last 50 years proves that solutions to address hunger and undernutrition are not beyond our reach.

The time to focus on food security and nutrition is now.

In the words of President Obama, “History teaches us that one of the most effective ways to pull people and entire nations out of poverty is to invest in their agriculture.” At the L’Aquila G8 Summit in 2009, President Obama focused the world’s attention to revive global investment in agricultural development to reduce global poverty.

Stemming from that 2009 pledge, Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, represents our contribution to the global commitment to address food and nutrition security and re-defines the way we work to address those issues around the world today. Feed the Future efforts are driven by country-led priorities and rooted in partnership with donor organizations, the private sector, and civil society to enable long-term success.

To reach the most vulnerable communities, the initiative focuses on smallholder farmers, particularly women, and supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth, increase incomes, and reduce hunger and undernutrition. The initiative also aligns resources behind science, technology, and innovations that improve the access, availability, and use of food.

We are proud to work with India as a strong partner related to the Feed the Future initiative for at least three reasons. 

January 7, 2013
Sharon Ketchum/USUN RomeAugustino Oturia is improving his yields with assistance from Feed the Future.

Ambassador David J. Lane, the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome, will travel to Tanzania and Malawi from January 7–15, 2013. He will visit rural communities and observe how the United States and the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies collaborate to support farmers, businesses and government officials improve food security and promote agricultural development in these countries. 

The Ambassador will be accompanied by a group of journalists from France, Ghana, Italy, Malawi, Niger, Tanzania, and Uganda. They will visit a variety of projects run by the U.S. Government, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). These include farmers’ cooperatives, a market access project and a Food For Education program in Tanzania, as well as an Agricultural Commodity Exchange and a Community Management of Malnutrition program as in Malawi.

Ambassador Lane will blog about his trip on DipNote and you can follow the trip on Facebook and Twitter. Visit the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome website for further information on what the U.S. Government and the UN Agencies are doing to improve food security and promote sustainable agricultural development in the world.

This article originally appeared on the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome website.

Additional Resources:


Subscribe to RSS - Malawi