The main motivation of this research is to understand the functioning of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) at district level and beyond in a changing context shaped by political and market liberalization in which policy reforms have been greatly driven by the economic reform agenda of the IMF and World Bank. These reforms were designed to reduce the role government, cut back on public sector expenditures, improve balance of payments, reduce government deficits, enhance macroeconomic performance and help developing countries achieve higher economic growth rates. Referred to as structural adjustment programmes (SAPs); the key elements of policy reforms included macroeconomic restructuring, privatization of government agencies, liberalization of markets, removal of the government from the agricultural markets and elimination of subsidies. In the agricultural sector, SAPs \"forced African governments to dismantle public agricultural research and extension programmes and drop whatever protection and incentive mechanisms existed for their small farmers\". The main goal of the SAPs was \"to convert the role of the state into that of facilitator and regulator of the private sector\". The MoAs would thus act merely as part players and not as the principal architects and drivers of agricultural policies and policy reforms.
Future Agricultures Research Paper 015, March 2008, 39 pp.
The political economy of Ministry of Agriculture at the district level: The case of Rumphi District