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Malawi

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MWI
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Malawi
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Malawi
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DARS

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Malawi: ASTI–DARS Country Factsheet

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Nienke Beintema, Kondwani Makoko, and Lang Gao

Year:
2016

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute and Department of Agricultural Research Services

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

Related country page(s)
Malawi

Further information

Inflation-driven spending decline

Since 2012, Malawi’s agricultural research spending has fallen substantially in inflation-adjusted terms in response to slowing economic growth, caused by a currency devaluation and a suspension of donor aid over corruption allegations. The country’s agricultural research intensity ratio declined as well; in 2014 agricultural research spending as a share of agricultural GDP was 0.53%, its lowest level since 2008.

Funding constraints at DARS

Since 2012, government funding to DARS has steadily fallen in inflation-adjusted terms, and is now barely sufficient to cover the cost of staff salaries, electricity, and water. Suspensions of donor aid have exacerbated the financial situation. On a positive note, the World Bank loan under APPSA provided an important source of income for DARS, enabling both capacity strengthening and infrastructure improvements targeting maize research.

DARS’ staff retention challenges

All public service recruitment has been halted since 2011. DARS therefore has longstanding vacancies based on staff turnover and retirement. In addition, some MSc- and PhD-qualified researchers have left DARS for positions in the higher education sector, where salaries and benefits are generally more attractive. Nonetheless, many of DARS’ BSc-qualified researchers are undertaking MSc-degree training, mainly supported by the World Bank and IFAD. Opportunities for PhD degree training overseas remain limited, however.

Restructuring LUANAR

BCA and NRC were merged to form LUANAR in 2012. The new entity comprises five faculties, four of which are based at the Bunda campus and one at the NRC campus. No staff were let go as a result of the merger; in fact, researcher numbers have grown over time. LUANAR’s funding from the government is secure, and new buildings and facilities are currently under construction.

ASTI data makes an impact in Malawi

ASTI was very instrumental in the research mapping exercise for the country commissioned by EU. The outcome of this exercise is expected to inform policy in re-designing research programmes for Malawi.

ASTI Factsheet and analyses were also requested for the development of a Science Plan commissioned by the Department of Agricultural Research Services.

Malawi: ASTI–DARS Country Factsheet

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Kathleen Flaherty and David Kamangira

Year:
2014

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute and Department of Agricultural Research Services.

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

Related country page(s)
Malawi

Agricultural R&D spending in Malawi more than doubled between 2008 and 2011, due to growth in both government and donor funding.

As a result of this increased spending, the share of AgGDP invested in agricultural research reached 1.03 percent, meeting the 1-percent target recommended by NEPAD and the United Nations.

The total number of agricultural researchers grew substantially during 2008–2011, although the new recruits were predominantly younger, BSc-qualified researchers.

Malawi: ASTI–DARS Country Brief

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Beintema, Nienke M.; Mwenda, Aggrey R.E.; Mtukuso, Alfred P.

Year:
2004

Publisher
International Food Policy Reserach Institute (IFPRI); International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR); and Department of Agricultural Research Services (DARS)

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

Related country page(s)
Malawi

After a period of growth, total spending on agricultural research in Malawi was cut by half between the mid-1980s and 2001 despite two consecutive World Bank–supported projects. Substantial investments were made under NARP to improve infrastructure, management, and capacity at DARS, then a second, less successful project—ASP— attempted to continue to strengthen the system. In 2000/01 overall agricultural research investments increased as a result of a substantial increase in government contributions to DARS, but the 2001 level was still far from total investment levels during the 1970s and 1980s.

Unfortunately the modest gains made under NARP have since been eroded, in part because of the short-fall in funding to ASP (only a third of the original research budget was disbursed) and inability to redress management and staff morale problems at DARS. Total fte researcher numbers have declined since the mid-1990s, mainly because of departures from DARS and FRIM, and as of early 2003, about half of the research positions at DARS were vacant.


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