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The role of Agricultural Information in Poverty Monitoring in Malawi
1. Introduction

Agriculture is the main source of economic livelihood especially for the majority poor. It has been emphasized as the main activity for the pro poor growth in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). The current poverty reduction philosophy of empowering the poor to be their own sources of economic growth can not be best done if it is not through improving agricultural productivity. According to the PRSP, a wider consultation of the rural poor has so far highlighted a number of agricultural information bottlenecks, which has resulted in low productivity and contributed to the deepening poverty in Malawi. Lack of information in areas of agricultural extension and produce marketing were the main issues.

To support government’s effort in this, a need to closely monitor the impact, effectiveness and efficiency of the development activities has been realized. In this respect, a Poverty Monitoring System (PMS) will have to be strengthened to monitor the progress of new poverty oriented policies, programmes and projects. Activities of the PMS are co-ordinated and regulated by a Technical Working Committee (TWC) which has a number of supporting institutions in its membership who are producers and users of poverty related data. The National Economic Council acts as a Secretariat of the TWC.

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