This article provides a critical account of the cereal seed systems in Malawi, in both a historical and contemporary context, with particular reference to the three input support programmes implemented since the late 1990s to date.
The centrality of the question of food security in the country’s electoral politics in a post‐liberalisation context has created a seed industry dominated by multinational seed companies, who offer farmers a narrow range of products, mainly hybrid maize, and in which alternative cereal seed systems, such as millet and sorghum are at the verge of extinction. The interests of seed companies, donors and government have, for different reasons, thus coincided to create a seed industry which has a narrow product portfolio and distributes benefits to only a very small proportion of the population. The dominant players in Malawi’s ‘Green Revolution Alliance’ shape the major policy directions, not always for the benefit of smallholder farmers.
This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 42.4 (2011) Seeds and Subsidies: The Political Economy of Input Programmes in Malawi