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Research Report 45: Space, Markets and Employment in Agricultural Development: Malawi country report

by Ephraim Chirwa, Mirriam Matita in 2015
SMEAD Malawi report

The objective of the study was to investigate the spatial and institutional linkages between agricultural development and non-farm employment in the rural areas of Malawi. Specifically, first we explored the nature of spatial and institutional linkages that connect agriculture with non-farm employment, and the implications for employment, poverty, vulnerability and food security. Second, we developed an understanding of which kinds of agricultural development (with reference to scale, capital intensity, value chain governance and local political and administrative institutions) could support broad-based, employment-intensive rural development.

The four main questions investigated in the study were:
• How are farm/non-farm linkages affected by spatial arrangements of production, processing, and market access, and by the organisation and governance of value chains?
• How are they affected by the social, institutional and political arrangements and relationships that shape these ‘real market’ relations and forms of economic coordination?
• How are they shaped by the scale and capital intensity of agricultural investment and development models? Do large-scale agri-investment and small farmer development have significantly different impacts on non-farm employment?
• What are the gendered poverty and employment impacts of different local spatial articulations of farm/non-farm employment?