Public sector support for inclusive agribusiness development – An appraisal of institutional models in Malawi
Country case studies – Africa
The agrifood system is changing rapidly in response to agricultural modernization and shifting consumer and societal demands for safer, better-quality and more convenient food. This new scenario coexists with more traditional types of family and subsistence farming. This changing environment places increased pressure on Ministries of Agriculture (MOAs) in developing countries to engage in agribusiness and agro-industry development. For this reason, over the past decade, many MOAs have established agribusiness units with technical, policy and coordination functions. To perform well, these units should be given clear mandates and sufficient financial resources and qualified staff familiar with current agribusiness developments, such as value chain programmes, climate-smart agriculture, contract farming and public–private partnerships. However, this ideal scenario rarely occurs. A change in the mind-set of MOA staff is required to move beyond the traditional focus on production towards a more holistic, farm-to-fork approach that includes post-production issues; and this might prove to be quite a challenge. To shed light on the role, performance and empowerment of these agribusiness units, FAO conducted a scoping survey of 71 countries and in-depth analyses of 21 case studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America. The primary objective was to draw lessons that can provide guidance to member countries on how to establish and operate well-performing agribusiness units. The outcome is presented in this series of country case studies, which contribute to enriching knowledge and sharing information on institutional responses for enhancing the public commitment to inclusive agribusiness and agro-industrial growth and job creation.