Brent Simpson, Geoff Heinrich .
MSU, CRS .
June 1, 2012 .
At the request of the USAID Malawi Mission, the MEAS project (Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services – a USAID funded project) conducted a rapid scoping mission to examine the pluralistic extension system in Malawi and to develop recommendations for strengthening extension and advisory services in the country. The fieldwork for the assessment work was carried from 3-27 January, 2012 and included in-depth interviews with Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (MAIWD) staff at all levels, international and national non-governmental organization (NGO) directors and staff, lead farmers, university faculty, agricultural researchers and private sector representatives. To the extent possible, interviews were carried out on the “shop floors” of the different respondents, allowing the MEAS team to visit farms, area and district extension and project offices, universities and training centers, and research facilities. The mission aimed to understand the institutional landscape, identify the principal actors, ascertain respective resources levels, targets, operational modalities, inter-organizational relationships, areas of conflict and gaps. Based upon the information collected and observations the team identified a number of key issues within the pluralistic extension system in Malawi that will need to be addressed in order to develop a more sustainable, farmer-led and market driven system of extension and advisory services.