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Research Report

National Policy Dialogue Synthesis Report:: True Contribution of Agriculture to Economic Growth and Development in Malawi and its Policy Implications on Extension and Radio Programming

Rex Chapota
Copyright Date: Aug. 5, 2009
Pages: 34

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. i-i)
  2. (pp. ii-ii)
  3. (pp. iii-iii)
  4. (pp. 1-2)

    Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) is a regional policy research and advocacy network whose operations are informed by major regional policy frameworks and processes in Southern Africa. These are currently the SADC’s Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), the SADC Heads of State Dar es Salaam Declaration, the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) of the New Partnership for Agricultural Development (NEPAD) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Agricultural Plan. At the international level, after decades of declining support, there is renewed focus on that development agencies will focus more on agriculture....

  5. (pp. 2-3)

    The Government of Malawi under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in collaboration with Farm Radio International organized a national stakeholder conference in order to strengthen the role of agricultural radio programming in the wider agricultural extension system. The stakeholder conference was branded as the ‘1st Annual Farm Radio Symposium’ and its theme was ‘Farm Radio Programming: An effective tool for increasing access of agricultural extension messages by small holder farmers in Malawi. In line with the symposiums’ great importance in understanding the potential contribution of agriculture to economic growth and development, FANRPAN collaborated with Farm Radio International to...

  6. (pp. 3-4)

    The World Development report of 2008 affirms the fact that agriculture is a vital development tool in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); more especially in much of Sub-Saharan Africa, since it is a strong option for spurring growth, overcoming poverty, and enhancing food security (World Bank, 2008).

    Agriculture continues to be the main source of economic growth in Malawi and there has been little noticeable diversification into other sectors of the economy. The industrial sector remains basic and constrained by high real interest rates restricting investment, high transport and power costs (Government of Malawi, 2006).

    Without doubt, agriculture is...

  7. (pp. 4-6)

    Khaila (2009) in the key note address at the symposium noted that extension by definition is a non-formal educational function that applies to any institution that disseminates information and advice with the intention of promoting knowledge, attitudes, skills and aspirations, although the term "extension" tends to be associated with agriculture and rural development.

    At the same time, extension is a political and organizational instrument utilized to facilitate development. Its purposes may differ, from technology transfer by companies organized around specific, usually mono-cropping farm systems to problem-solving educational approaches to participatory programmes aimed at alleviating poverty and advancing community involvement in...

  8. (pp. 7-12)

    In 1996, the world’s heads of state meeting in Rome committed their countries to eradicating hunger and reducing the number of undernourished people by 50% by the year 2015 (FAO 1998). While on the one hand the agricultural yields in developing countries continue to decline, despite technological innovations, their populations continue to expand beyond food production capacities. This poses a great challenge for developing countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa, where it has been estimated that 50% of the total population would go hungry by the year 2000 (FAO 1998). Policy- and decision-makers thus have to identify possible and appropriate solutions that...

  9. (pp. 12-19)

    This section summarises the proceedings of the symposium; drawing attention to the main issues presented and discussed in line with how agricultural radio programming increases access to messages that in turn increase productivity and marketing of agriculture produce. The summary also engages in a critical discussion of interesting experiences and observations made in the papers and presentations.

    The keynote address by Dr Stanley Khaila started with a broad definition of extension in general and agricultural extension in particular and its use as a political and organization instrument to be utilised to facilitate development.

    The key messages in the keynote address...

  10. (pp. 19-21)

    The following are the recommendation made during the symposium to enhance the role of agricultural radio programming in agricultural development.

    Institutionalize farm radio programming in the media for development, journalism and agricultural extension curriculum: There is need to scale up farm radio programming training as a professional course in institutions of higher learning. The University of Malawi (Polytechnic, Chancellor College and Bunda College) and other colleges like Malawi Institute of Journalism need to take up this challenge of building the capacity of broadcasters, agricultural extension workers, radio officers etc in agricultural technologies and terminologies for effective and efficient production of...

  11. (pp. 21-21)

    The symposium has affirmed that there is a greater role of agricultural extension services especially the agricultural radio programming in increasing access for extension messages that will reach small holder farmers in order to promote innovative technologies that will improve agricultural productivity and thereby contributing to economic growth and development.

    Therefore supporting implementation of innovative programs on the use of radio such as the African Farm Radio Research Initiative (AFRRI) and others will help to bring out critical experiences and models to use in furthering the use of radio in agricultural development.

    It can be concluded that the national dialogue...

  12. (pp. 22-24)