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Feed the Future Malawi Improved Seed Systems and Technologies (MISST); Viable Sweetpotato Technologies for Africa component.

Project Ongoing

Undernutrition in Malawi is high: 800,000 children under five are stunted and one million suffer from vitamin A deficiency (VAD).  OFSP varieties stand out as a proven, cost effective tool to reduce VAD and provide additional vital nutrients to vulnerable populations.

Malawi Improved Seed Systems and Technologies will contribute to USAID’s FTF objectives of inclusive agricultural sector growth and improved nutritional status, especially of women and children. Specifically, the project will contribute to improved agricultural productivity, increased resilience of vulnerable communities and households, and improved access to diverse and quality foods. 

We work in seven Districts in Central and Southern Malawi; Balaka, Dedza, Lilongwe rural, Machinga, Mchinji, Mangochi and Ntcheu.

Brian Kachisa: Training and Promotion Officer. Denis Kathabwalika: Seed Systems Agronomist.

Key Project Information

The focus of the Feed the Future (FtF) Malawi Improved Seed Systems and Technologies (MISST) project is to strengthen technology delivery in Malawi with specific attention to Balaka, Dedza, Lilongwe rural, Machinga, Mchinji, Mangochi, and Ntcheu districts in the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-Malawi zones of influence (ZOI). Five project components are implemented in the seven selected districts by the International Potato Center (CIP), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT). Each component focuses on the same or different types of agricultural innovations:


1. CIMMYT: Drought tolerant maize seed scale up (DTM Scale-Up).

2. CIP: Viable sweetpotato technologies for Africa.

3. ICRISAT: Scaling up access to groundnut and pigeon pea technologies.

4. IITA: Making high quality soybean seeds accessible to smallholder farmers.

5. IITA: Development, promotion and commercialization of biological control in the groundnut and maize value chains.


It is within this context that the FtF Program of USAID is funding the Viable Sweetpotato Technologies in Africa–Malawi component of the CGIAR consortium project.


The objectives:

1. Increased productivity and production of OFSP among smallholders

2. Improved nutrition knowledge, OFSP utilization, and OFSP consumption at household level, in particular to improve the diets of women and children under 5 years

3. Improved storage and marketing of fresh OFSP roots and vines

4. Enhanced human and organizational capacity for scaling up OFSP


In Malawi, CIP is employing a ‘partnering for impact at scale’ approach. Current partners include commercial and community-based multipliers, Ministries of Agriculture (Research & Extension), Health & Education, National NGOs and Civil Society Organizations, International NGOs, Peace Corps and other large USAID funded projects (integration). CIP supported partners with a combination of classroom and field training on OFSP varieties, mother & baby trial (MBT) design and implementation, Vitamin A nutrition and M&E. To date, the project planted over 600 farmer managed MBT’s involving six OFSP varieties and distributed over 30,000 bundles of planting material (of 100 cuttings per bundle). The project further trained 20 commercial planting material multipliers and has started establishing community based vine multiplication sites. A value chain and market mapping study was conducted in the seven districts. Based on this, seven sweet potato hotspot areas were identified for massive promotion and scaling out of OFSP. So far over 500 partner staff and over 30,000 farmers have received training on topics such as mother baby trials, agronomy and seed systems. The project will now increasingly focus on training of partners on nutrition, root storage and post harvest management and marketing of roots and vines.

Start date December 01, 2014
End date June 30, 2019
Lead organization CIP (for OFSP component); ICRISAT (MISST)
Collaborating organizations Our (CIP) partners include but are not limited to: Governmental: - Department of Agricultural Research Services (DARS) - Department of Agricultural Extension Services (DAES) Farmers organizations: - Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) - National Association of Smallholder Farmers in Malawi (NASFAM) NGO’s - Concern Worldwide - We Effect - Catholic Development Commissions (Dedza and Zomba) - Welthungerhilfe Other USAID funded Initiatives through Integration - INVC project (DAI) - PERFORM project (Tetra tech) - NJIRA project (PCI)
Region Southern Africa
Countries Malawi
Type of project Development / Dissemination
Financing Sources USAID (Feed the Future)
Funding Amount (USD) $5,104,861
Members Daniel van Vugt, Chifundo Kapalamula, Denis Kathabwalika, Arthur Chibwana Gama, JOSE MARIO CARDENAS, Walter Omony


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