Building an Effective Advocacy Movement for Sustainable and Equitable Agricultural Development in Africa / Advocacy for Sustainable and Equitable Agricultural Development: The Case of Malawi

"Malawi has several Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that work within the agricultural sector. These CSOs advocate on behalf of the smallholder farmers for a more enabling environment to improve smallholder farmers’ productivity including better policies. Despite the existence of the CSOs on agriculture, there have been limited improvements of the conditions under which the smallholder farmers operate particularly regarding access to better output markets and productive resources such as land, improved technologies and capital markets. This anomaly formed the basis of this study whose main objectives were to identify the critical factors affecting the smallholder farmers and the corresponding policies aimed at addressing the challenges. In addition, it sought to identify the representative and associational forms of agency (organisations) that exist to respond to the challenges confronting smallholders. The research principally involved a review of literature related to the two basic research questions which were: (i) What policy factors inhibit the sustainability of smallholder agriculture systems? (ii) What forms of organisations exist in the country to respond to the challenges confronting smallholder farmers? Interviews were conducted with representatives of some CSOs on how the CSOs represent (amplify) smallholder farmers’ policy interests. The interviews were focused on getting a deeper understanding of the internal operations of CSOs and the nature and efficacy of the networks (local, regional and global) that they have established in the recent past, the nature of CSOs’ relationship with farmers, and the challenges that CSOs face in their advocacy work."