Malawi Agriculture Policy Strengtherning (MAPS) Project
Strengthening the capacity of farmers and private sector actors in policy dialogue in the agriculture sector in Malawi
The Context of the Project
The ability of Malawi’s civil society organizations to contribute to policy development and implementations has been challenged by capacity constraints.
These go beyond technical skills alone. They include analytical and adaptive capacities, strategic planning, management, governance, resource mobilization, and the capacity to enhance accountability and increase legitimacy.
Farmers union of Malawi (FUM), as an umbrella body of farmers and farmer organizations in Malawi, has an obligation to promote the interests of its members.
Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) too, representing the private sector, has the responsibility to guide the alignment of private sector investments to the priorities articulated in the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach (ASWAp), more particularly in areas of agricultural commercialization, agro-processing, and market development.
The purpose of the Project
The purpose of the Malawi Agriculture Policy Strengthening Project is to strengthen the capacity of Non-State Actors (NSAs) in the agriculture sector, including farmers and the private sector to engage effectively in policy dialogue.
This is being achieved through capacity building, effective partnerships and networking, public awareness and advocacy.
The project is supporting improvements in organizational performance and management to be able to engage in policy advocacy, membership mobilization, and policy analysis, peer learning, and engagement with policy processes.
This is being done through print and electronic media, sharing experiences and conducting debates between policy makers and Non-State Actors (NSAs) in order for NSAs to be more aware of the policies that affect their welfare, the function of agri-businesses and have direct impact on their livelihoods.
At the core of the project is policy advocacy. Various government policy platforms are engaged such as the ASWAp and National Export Strategy (NES) Technical Working Groups (TWGs), Sector Working Group, Public Private Dialogue Forum (PPDF), the National and District Stakeholder Panels, relevant Parliamentary Committees among others.
Specific policy dialogue forums is also being conducted for NSAs to engage government on targeted policy issues.
Effective Partnerships and Networking
FUM is collaborating with other NSAs in the agricultural sector to leverage comparative advantages of technical strengths and competencies the partners bring. Local, regional and international partners are an integral part of the project. Such partners are Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET), Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN), Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU), and Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ACE) among others.
The project is being implemented in five districts, namely; Mzimba, Dedza, Ntcheu, Mangochi and Thyolo.
The USAID’s Feed the Future multi-year strategy identified legumes, groundnuts and soybeans as some of the promising value chains. The project is ensuring that within the framework of agricultural commercialization, agro-processing and market development under ASWAp, legumes and dairy value chain players are able to engage with the ASWAp implementation process.
The project runs from May 2013 to May 2016.