MA, Major Research Paper: Towards a New Green Revolution? Exploring Competing Approaches to Food Security In the Aftermath of Malawi’s Agriculture Success Story. (Jan. 2014 – Dec. 2015)
In Sub-Saharan Africa, most of the workforce is employed in agriculture and the majority of the poorest households depend on farming for their livelihoods. In Malawi, low food production has led to chronic food crises and famines as domestic food production collapsed nationally in 1992, 1994, and 2004. In response to these shortages a Fertilizer Input Subsidy Program (FISP) was introduced in 2005 by the Government of Malawi to increase the ability of small-holder farmers to generate yields and improve food security nationwide. Hailed as a prime example of the “New Green Revolution” and often viewed as a success story, this paper analyzes FISP’s challenges and limitations. It reviews FISP within the context of a food security theoretical framework, and explores alternative and experimental policy interventions for achieving food security, including agroecology and social protection programs. Specifically, this research paper argues that while the implementation of FISP increased food availability at the national level, it did not fully address issues of food access, utilization, financial and ecological sustainability, and beneficiary targeting. Therefore, FISP constitutes only a partial solution to food insecurity in Malawi. A multipronged, balanced approach that includes agroecological initiatives and social protection programs that target different groups with different interventions could provide a more effective, efficient, and holistic approach to food security.
Download the full Major Research Paper here.