This is the first country strategy and evaluation programme (CSPE) conducted by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) in Malawi. The evaluation covers the years 2011 to 2021.
The CSPE found that the country programme has been comprehensive and consistent in addressing the key issues faced by smallholder farmers in the country, such as high vulnerability, low productivity and food insecurity deriving from unsustainable land use. It has actively promoted gender equality and women’s empowerment, encouraging women’s participation in all activities and promoting household methodologies to address the root causes of inequalities and power imbalances.
IFAD-supported projects have achieved significant increases in productivity, providing technology, inputs and irrigation while they were ongoing. However, these gains were often eroded soon after project completion. In addition, the country programme had limited success in diversifying food production systems. Integration of livestock into production systems had a positive effect on food security and nutrition; however, food remains the most important expenditure item for smallholder farmers.
The CSPE recommends that IFAD should enhance its support to sustainable and diversified production systems. IFAD should develop strategies to address the persistent bottlenecks in government decentralized project management and enhance the results, sustainability and impact of its operations on the ground. IFAD’s new country office will provide opportunities for enhanced engagement with the Government of Malawi and for better coordination with the initiatives supported by other development partners.