MSU Awarded $7.8 Million Grant to Promote Agricultural Transformation in Malawi
The Agricultural Transformation Initiative has awarded MSU a $7.8 million grant toward bettering the lives of smallholder farmers and the country’s agricultural sector.
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State University (MSU) researchers received a $7.8 million grant from the Agricultural Transformation Initiative (ATI) to build an independent policy research institute in Malawi dedicated to improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and transforming Malawi’s agricultural sector.
This policy research institute project will address the growing awareness that international demand for tobacco is declining and that developing countries that are highly dependent on tobacco as a cash crop will need support to diversify and transform their rural economies.
“Forward-thinking initiatives like this are critical to the prosperity of many southern African nations like Malawi, where tobacco accounts for over half of the country’s national export earnings,” according to Thomas Jayne, MSU Foundation professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics (AFRE). “Malawi is arguably the world’s most tobacco-dependent country, but many other southern African countries will also need an effective transition strategy. This grant is intended to develop and implement such a strategy.”
To spark this transformation, MSU researchers will work closely with public, private, and civil society stakeholders in Malawi to build a platform for transparent and evidence-based public discussion about the ways forward. The foundation for this discussion will be the creation of an autonomous self-sustaining agricultural policy research institute in Malawi.
“This project will address the growing need to facilitate an economic environment in Malawi that can support agricultural diversification,” said Candida Nakhumwa, country director, ATI. “MSU’s expertise in agriculture development will be invaluable in the work to transform the sector in support of smallholder tobacco farmers who are seeking alternative livelihoods.”
“Rural welfare in Malawi will depend on how rapidly the country can find sustainable and profitable income-earning alternatives to tobacco,” said Milu Muyanga, an assistant professor in AFRE based on Malawi who is working with Jayne on the project. “The ATI team reached out to MSU to build a Malawian-led institute that can contribute to the country’s agricultural transformation process.”
Jayne and Muyanga are the principal investigators of this initial three-year grant which builds upon MSU’s longstanding commitment to capacity development in Africa.
“It’s important to us that our activities in Malawi, and Africa in general, are dedicated to supporting local solutions led by those who have a real and longstanding stake in the outcomes,” said Jayne. “This is a hallmark of the College of Agricultural and Natural Resources work in Africa for decades, and this approach is promoted across MSU through the Alliance for African Partnership (AAP).”
Over the next three years, Jayne and Muyanga will collaborate across campus with faculty members from their own department as well as those from Geography, Entomology and Plant Soil and Microbial Sciences and with local Malawi partners to form this research institute. Other partners include the Malawian National Planning Commission, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Purdue University, and ORG/First Hectares.
“MSU shares our commitment to help improve the diversification and efficiency of the agriculture ecosystem in Malawi,” said Jim Lutzweiler, vice president of Agriculture and Livelihoods, Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. “We know this project will drive real change that will help smallholder tobacco farmers.”
The ATI is a core pillar of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, an independent, U.S. nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with the purpose of improving global health by ending smoking in this generation and supporting the diversification of tobacco-dependent economies.
Mission is to eliminate smoking worldwide by supporting cessation & harm reduction #research, and transitioning tobacco #farmers to alternative livelihoods.
2020 Briefing Paper - Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction Millions of lives will be saved if the recommendations of this report are implemented! We could #endsmoking if we got behind the ideas here. @SmokeFreeFdn @INNCOorg @WHO https://gsthr.org/report/2020-briefing-paper
Almost 70% of smokers in the U.S. want to quit & nearly half have tried to quit in the last year. Only about 4% will be successful. The 2018 EY Parthenon report shows that solutions on the market only help a small percentage of smokers quit. #CessationSGR http://bit.ly/2S5ogDy
Creating a smoke-free world will require innovation and tailored approaches to cessation. We hope the Smoking Cessation: A Report of the Surgeon General will spur much-needed action in this field. See the Foundation’s full statement here. http://bit.ly/2RIX3op
The true cost of a cigarette goes beyond the price tag. Smallholder tobacco farmers face a shifting tobacco market and must identify #AlternativeLivelihoods. http://bit.ly/300BmDf
There are over 1 billion smokers. To successfully end smoking in this generation, there needs to be a dual approach, which includes #harmreduction. Derek Yach explains why support for harm reduction is still lagging.
Sign up with your email address to receive news and updates