Market liberalization and food security in Malawi
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Since independence, Malawi has emphasised the smallholder and estate sectors. They differ in terms of land tenure, type of crops grown, credit institutions, market access, and availability of extension service rather than in farm size. Farmers under communal land tenure cannot grow burley tobacco, are serviced by the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC), and have access to government extension services. On the other hand, estate farmers under freehold or leasehold can obtain commercial bank credit. Hence, the smallholder sector produces food and a limited number of export crops while the estate sector has concentrated on tobacco, tea, and sugar. During the 1960s and 1970s, estate production grew much faster than smallholder output. Exports from estates expanded at an annual rate of 15% while smallholder exports recorded very little growth. The estate’s share of exports increased from 32% in 1967 to 65% in 1979 and reached 80% in 1981- 82.