Policy Brief - December 2008

Emerging from the worst harvest in a decade, the Government of Malawi implemented one of the most ambitious and successful assaults on hunger in the history of the African continent. Through a national input subsidy program, coinciding with better rainfall conditions, maize production doubled in 2006 and almost tripled in 2007 and 2008. From a 43% national food deficit in 2005, Malawi achieved 53% and 58% maize surpluses in 2007 and 2008 respectively, with some being exported to neighbouring countries. An associated decline in the price of maize conveys important benefits to lowincome urban and rural households that are net food consumers. Malawi's four years of experience in implementing input voucher subsidies may provide important lessons for achieving food security through smallholders in Africa.