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Main report of the evaluation programme: 2001-02 targetted inputs programme

Sarah Levy, Carlos Barahona

Calibre Consultants / University of Reading

August 2002

SARPN acknowledges the University of Reading website as the source of this report:
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Part 1: The approach

Section 1: Introduction

Starter Pack and TIP

The 2000-01 and 2001-02 Targeted Inputs Programmes (TIPs) provided rural smallholder households with one Starter Pack containing 0.1 ha-worth of fertiliser, maize seed and legume seed. The TIPs followed on from the Starter Pack campaigns in 1998-99 and 1999-2000. A key objective of these campaigns was to increase household food security amongst rural smallholders in Malawi. The 1998-99 and 1999-2000 SP campaigns (SP1 and SP2) were designed to cover all rural smallholder households, providing 2.86 million packs each year. The 2000-01 TIP (TIP1) was enough for roughly half this number of beneficiaries, while the 2001-02 TIP (TIP2) was further scaled down to 1 million beneficiaries.

The TIPs had a number of objectives which were the same as those of SP1 and SP2:
  1. Increasing national food production, in particular for maize;
  2. Promoting the use of chemical fertiliser by smallholder farmers (to improve yield);
  3. Reducing household food insecurity, particularly for the poorest farm families; and
  4. Provision of legume crops to improve soil fertility and diet.
However, there were some key differences:
  • The TIPs asked rural communities to select the poorest households as beneficiaries of the programme through community targeting.

  • TIP1 replaced hybrid maize seed with the more sustainable OPV maize seed, which can be recycled for up to three years. It was the intention to continue using OPV in TIP2, but insufficient supplies were available, so many areas received hybrid.

  • The amount of fertiliser provided was reduced from 15 kg under Starter Pack to 10 kg under TIP on the basis that OPV maize seed requires less fertiliser than hybrid.

  • The extension campaign for TIP2 included not only leaflets and radio messages, but also on-farm demonstration (OFD) plots to teach farmers how to use TIP inputs.
The evaluations

For the past three years, Calibre Consultants (UK) and the Statistical Services Centre of The University of Reading (UK) have managed Starter Pack and TIP monitoring and evaluation programmes on behalf of the Malawi Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MoAI) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). This report presents the findings of the 2001-02 TIP evaluation programme. It also draws on the previous years’ research.

The SP2 and TIP1 evaluations were large-scale programmes involving five or six teams of local consultants. The modular design of these programmes1 – in which each team researched a particular topic of interest – meant that Starter Pack and TIP were researched from a variety of angles, with large amounts of information collected and processed by nationwide surveys and participatory research exercises.

After two years, we felt that most of the key issues had been well researched and that the policy recommendations had been clearly stated. Therefore the TIP2 evaluation comprised only two modules, one focusing on ‘core’ information about food production and security, and the other looking at areas which had been modified after the experience of TIP1: beneficiary selection and community targeting, agricultural extension and health messages. Thus the TIP2 evaluation consists of:
  • Module 1: A study of Food Production and Security carried out by Clement Nyirongo of the National Economic Council (the Team Leader) with Hiester Gondwe, Frederick Msiska, Humphrey Mdyetseni and Frank Kamanga of the MoAI. The work was split into two parts: a pre-harvest survey carried out in April-May 2002, and a post-harvest survey in August 2002. This report draws on the findings of the pre-harvest survey only.

  • Module 2: A study of the TIP messages based on participatory research techniques. The work was carried out by a team based at Chancellor College led by Blessings Chinsinga, with Christopher Dzimadzi, Michael Magalasi and Lawrence Mpekansambo.


  1. See Levy and Barahona, 2001.

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