SOAS University of London

Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP)

Evaluation of the Malawi Farm Input Subsidy Programme

Staff member

Andrew Dorward (Team Leader)

Time period

Funding in three contracts from 2006 to 2016 from UK Department for International Development (Malawi). Special studies supported by Future Agricultures Consortium.


from Wadonda Consult and the University of Malawi

Associated CeDEP research

Objectives and Scope

In 2005/6 the Malawi Government introduced a large scale national programme subsidising agricultural inputs, mainly fertilisers and seeds for maize production. The purpose of this long running work is to provide the Malawi Government and other stakeholders with information on the implementation and impact of the Farm Input Subsidy Programme.

Using Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security implementation data, biennial household surveys and a variety of other data sources, annual reports have been produced on programme implementation and estimated costs and returns to the programme, with biennial reports on beneficiary characteristics and programme reach. These have been backed up by working papers addressing specific topics such as targeting, benefit cost analysis, graduation, gender and intra-household use of commercial and subsidized fertilizers, impacts on private sector input suppliers, private sector participation, maize market impacts, and maize production estimates.


  • Chirwa, E., and A. Dorward (2013). Agricultural Input Subsidies: The Recent Malawi Experience. Oxford University Press. Download open access pdf.
    • This draws on the reports and papers listed below but also includes substantial new material on the evolving thinking about input subsidies, on recent experience with  input subsidies in Africa and on agricultural policy in Malawi, with comparison and integration across different sources, perspectives and issues.
  • Agricultural Input Subsidies: The Recent Malawi Experience - an introduction to the book and update.
    • A summary of the book's contents and of what has changed (or not) in the literature and  programme experience since the manuscript was finished in early 2013.
Peer reviewed papers
  • Dorward, A.R. and E. Chirwa (2011a). "The Malawi Agricultural Input Subsidy Programme: 2005-6 to 2008-9" International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 9(1): 232-247.
  • Ricker-Gilbert, J., T.S. Jayne and E. Chirwa (2010). "Subsidies and crowding out: a double hurdle model of fertilizer demand in Malawi." American Journal of Agricultural Economics 93(1): 26-42.
Briefing papers
Book chapters
  • Dorward, A. R., Chirwa, E. W. (2011) The Malawi Agricultural Input Subsidy Programme: 2005-6 to 2008-9. Ch 26 in Pretty J., C Toulmin and S  Williams (eds)  (2011) Sustainable Intensification: Increasing Productivity in African Food and Agricultural Systems. Earthscan.
  • Dorward, A. R., Chirwa, E. W., Jayne, T.S. (2011)  Malawi’s Agricultural Inputs Subsidy Programme over 2005-2009. pages 289-317 in Yes Africa can : Success stories from a dynamic continent.  Chuhan-Pole P and M. Angwafo (eds) World Bank, Washington DC.
Evaluation and other papers
Other organisations’ and authors’ papers and studies on the Malawi Farm Input Subsidies Programme

(Links to other papers and studies does not imply any endorsement of or responsibility for the views and information provided in these. We will be grateful for information on any studies or papers omitted from the list above.)