Policy Brief - September 2009

The performance of the agricultural sector has always been crucial to achieving economic growth. An evidence based account of agriculture’s contribution to economic growth can be deduced from improved macroeconomic performance of Malawi after the bumper harvests in years between 2006 and 2009. Malawi’s economy registered a 9.7% growth in 2008, an increase by one percent point from a growth of 8.6% registered in 2007. On the other hand, when agriculture is a low priority in terms of investment like after the structural reforms of 1980’s to mid-1990’s, the consequences are devastating; specialist services such as research services, extension services are undermined resulting in non-decreasing levels of poverty (1998 – 2005), and productivity traps that have further constrained input and output market development.