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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Stagnation of Smallholder Agriculture in Malawi: A Decade of Structural Adjustment
Authors:Sahn, David E.ISNI
Arulpragasam, JehanISNI
Periodical:Food Policy
Geographic term:Malawi
Subjects:price policy
economic policy
small farms
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
History and Exploration
Politics and Government
Economics and Trade
External link:https://doi.org/10.1016/0306-9192(91)90088-2
Abstract:Malawi's efforts at structural adjustment have revolved around reforming the marketing and pricing of outputs and inputs in smallholder agriculture. This article first turns to a discussion of input and product pricing (increased fertilizer prices, product price reform), concentrating on the implications of pricing policy for smallholder incomes and food availability. This is followed by an examination of the implications of reforms on consumer welfare, as mediated through income and price changes. The evidence suggests that price-oriented adjustment policies have been largely unsuccessful. More specifically, the article casts considerable doubt on the commitment to and sustainability of efforts to raise incentives by reducing direct and indirect taxation of smallholder cash crops. Likewise, goals to remove the subsidy on fertilizer and on the consumer price of maize remain unattained. There is clearly a need to push for further reforms in pricing. However, structural adjustment in Malawi will have to go beyond just getting prices right. Policies must also concentrate on structural and institutional weaknesses (such as the poor's limited control of resources, capital and land constraints, inadequacies of rural infrastructure) that constrain smallholder agriculture and contribute to widespread food insecurity and malnutrition. Notes, ref.