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Vol 52 No 2

Published 21st January 2011


Malawi

Subsidising politics

Maize subsidies win votes but the impact on the economy – and on agriculture – is not so healthy

Having bucked conventional wisdom on government subsidies to small farmers, President Bingu wa Mutharika staked his election chances on his Farm Input Subsidy Programme in the 2005 and 2009 elections and won decisively (AC Vol 50 No 23). For this he received copious international praise, including from donors who had criticised the FISP initially. However, as an ambitious, costlier, new five-year subsidy plan is published, doubts are growing about its sustainability.

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