Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 27
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Nyantakyi-Frimpong, Hanson Mambulu, Faith Nankasa Bezner Kerr, Rachel Luginaah, Isaac and Lupafya, Esther 2016. Agroecology and sustainable food systems: Participatory research to improve food security among HIV-affected households in northern Malawi. Social Science & Medicine,

    Saint Ville, Arlette S. Hickey, Gordon M. Locher, Uli and Phillip, Leroy E. 2016. Exploring the role of social capital in influencing knowledge flows and innovation in smallholder farming communities in the Caribbean. Food Security, Vol. 8, Issue. 3, p. 535.

    Graeub, Benjamin E. Chappell, M. Jahi Wittman, Hannah Ledermann, Samuel Kerr, Rachel Bezner and Gemmill-Herren, Barbara 2015. The State of Family Farms in the World. World Development,

    Groover, Kimberly Mills, Bradford and Ninno, Carlo del 2015. Safety Nets in Africa: Effective Mechanisms to Reach the Poor and Most Vulnerable.

    Saint Ville, Arlette S. Hickey, Gordon M. and Phillip, Leroy E. 2015. Addressing food and nutrition insecurity in the Caribbean through domestic smallholder farming system innovation. Regional Environmental Change, Vol. 15, Issue. 7, p. 1325.

    Suckall, Natalie Fraser, Evan Forster, Piers and Mkwambisi, David 2015. Using a migration systems approach to understand the link between climate change and urbanisation in Malawi. Applied Geography, Vol. 63, p. 244.

    Bezner Kerr, Rachel 2013. Seed struggles and food sovereignty in northern Malawi. Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 40, Issue. 5, p. 867.

    Peters, Pauline E. 2013. Land appropriation, surplus people and a battle over visions of agrarian futures in Africa. Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 40, Issue. 3, p. 537.

    Sabates-Wheeler, Rachel and Devereux, Stephen 2013. Sustainable Graduation from Social Protection Programmes. Development and Change, Vol. 44, Issue. 4, p. 911.

    Skjeflo, Sofie 2013. Measuring household vulnerability to climate change—Why markets matter. Global Environmental Change, Vol. 23, Issue. 6, p. 1694.

    Smith, Alastair M. 2013. Fair trade governance and diversification: The experience of the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi. Geoforum, Vol. 48, p. 114.

    Mpesi, Andrew Mabvuto and Muriaas, Ragnhild L. 2012. Food security as a political issue: the 2009 elections in Malawi. Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Vol. 30, Issue. 3, p. 377.

    Resnick, Danielle Tarp, Finn and Thurlow, James 2012. THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF GREEN GROWTH: CASES FROM SOUTHERN AFRICA. Public Administration and Development, Vol. 32, Issue. 3, p. 215.

    Kamlongera, Paul Justice 2011. MAKING THE POOR ‘POORER’ OR ALLEVIATING POVERTY? ARTISANAL MINING LIVELIHOODS IN RURAL MALAWI. Journal of International Development, Vol. 23, Issue. 8, p. 1128.

    Sumberg, James and Sabates-Wheeler, Rachel 2011. Linking agricultural development to school feeding in sub-Saharan Africa: Theoretical perspectives. Food Policy, Vol. 36, Issue. 3, p. 341.

    TIBA, ZOLTÁN 2011. ‘Maize is Life, but Rice is Money!’ A Village Case Study of the2001/02 Famine in Malawi. Journal of Agrarian Change, Vol. 11, Issue. 1, p. 3.

    Davies, G. M. Pollard, L. and Mwenda, M. D. 2010. Perceptions of land-degradation, forest restoration and fire management: A case study from Malawi. Land Degradation & Development, Vol. 21, Issue. 6, p. 546.

    Devereux, Stephen 2009. Why does famine persist in Africa?. Food Security, Vol. 1, Issue. 1, p. 25.

    Dorward, Andrew Kydd, Jonathan Poulton, Colin and Bezemer, Dirk 2009. Coordination Risk and Cost Impacts on Economic Development in Poor Rural Areas. The Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 45, Issue. 7, p. 1093.

    Matshe, I 2009. Boosting smallholder production for food security: some approaches and evidence from studies in sub-Saharan Africa. Agrekon, Vol. 48, Issue. 4, p. 483.

  • The Journal of Modern African Studies, Volume 42, Issue 3
  • September 2004, pp. 343-361

The Malawi 2002 food crisis: the rural development challenge

  • Andrew Dorward (a1) and Jonathan Kydd (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 September 2004

The recent food crisis in Malawi has drawn stark attention to the failures of development policies over the last forty years to create wealth and develop a robust economy or the markets on which such an economy must depend. Current market liberalisation policies have achieved at best mixed success in addressing the generic problems inhibiting smallholder agricultural development: low returns to farmers' and service providers' investments, with high risks from natural shocks, price variations, coordination failure and opportunistic behaviour. Post-independence institutional mechanisms in Malawi were more successful in addressing some of these problems, in particular those of coordination risk, although external and internal difficulties led to increasing costs and declining effectiveness of these mechanisms, and to their collapse. They do provide, however, important lessons about the different failures of both market intervention and market liberalisation policies. We suggest and discuss a set of critical elements needed for economic development and wealth creation in poor rural areas, and propose four basic principles to guide the search for, and design and implementation of, effective rural development strategies and policies.

Hide All
An earlier version of this paper was originally presented at ‘Malawi after Banda: perspectives in a regional African context’, a conference to mark the retirement of John McCracken, 4–5 September 2002, Centre of Commonwealth Studies, University of Stirling. The work draws on various pieces of work commissioned by the UK Department for International Development; however the findings, interpretations and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Department for International Development, which does not guarantee their accuracy and can accept no responsibility for any consequences of their use. We gratefully acknowledge helpful comments on the development and revision of this paper from colleagues in Imperial College London and from two anonymous reviewers.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Modern African Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-278X
  • EISSN: 1469-7777
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-modern-african-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *