Is EU Support to Malawi Agriculture Effective?

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 12-090/V

Posted: 8 Sep 2012

See all articles by Wouter Zant

Wouter Zant

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics; Tinbergen Institute

Date Written: September 7, 2012


We measure the impact of the Farmers Income Diversification Program (FIDP), an EU funded program implemented in Malawi from late 2005 onwards, aiming at increasing agricultural productivity, diversification, value addition, commercialization and trade of subsistence farmers. The geographical spread of the implementation of FIDP is exploited to identify its impact. Computations are based on annual data by Extension Planning Area, 198 in total, fully covering Malawi, for the period 2003-04 to 2009-10. The estimations support a statistically significant impact of FIDP on agricultural productivity, with increases reaching 20% to 24% relative to base period levels, with a lag of at least one year after the start of the program and increasing over the years. Evidence on diversification of crop income is less strong but still suggests increases ranging from 5% to 10%. Results are robust for instrumental variables, synthetic controls, clustering of standard errors and inclusion of additional covariates.

Keywords: agricultural policy, impact evaluation, subsistence farming, Malawi, Africa

JEL Classification: F35, O13, O55, Q11, Q13

Suggested Citation

Zant, Wouter, Is EU Support to Malawi Agriculture Effective? (September 7, 2012). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 12-090/V, Available at SSRN:

Wouter Zant (Contact Author)

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA

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