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Regional themes > Agriculture Last update: 2020-11-27  

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The role of Agricultural Information in Poverty Monitoring in Malawi

Agriculture is the main source of economic livelihood for the majority of the Malawi Population, therefore its performance greatly determines the national poverty levels. Hence the need for timely and accurate agricultural information in poverty monitoring programs.

Main sources of agricultural information for poverty monitoring include: National Sample Survey of Agriculture, (NSSA), National Crop Estimates Surveys, Land Resources Surveys, Agricultural Input and Output Market Prices (Domestic and International), various researchers and donor agencies (e.g. VAM reports prepared by FEWS) and Projects Progress Reports and Management Information Systems.

The Poverty Monitoring System (PMS) was established to monitor the implementation of Poverty Alleviation Programs (PAP) in terms of impact, effectiveness and efficiency. The PMS is coordinated by a Technical Working Committee (TWC) which comprises Producers and users of Poverty relate information. The indicators of Poverty, which have been developed by PMS on agriculture, include agriculture and food production, Food Security and nutrition and household purchasing power.

While coverage and relevance of the data has been satisfactory, a number of weaknesses have been identified as follows:

  • Inadequate or lack of coordination in the planning, design, and implementation of agricultural data collection, analysis and dissemination

  • Weakness in the methodologies used

  • Inadequate supervision in of data collection.

  • Inexistence of mechanism for wider dissemination of agricultural information

  • Lack of appreciation of the importance of management information and data by managers

  • Over-reliance on the use of traditional statistical methods of data collection as opposed to participatory approaches

  • Inadequate budgetary resources
To improve quality of agricultural data and information generated for use in poverty monitoring, it is imperative that the producers and users of information keep in constant contact. This will ensure that appropriate data and information is generated and used. Training in data generation, analysis, presentation and dissemination is therefore a Prerequisite. Institutions dealing with data and information generation and use need strengthening in all areas of data and information generation, use and management.

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