The impact of the Lead Farmer Extension Approach implemented by the Development Fund of Norway in Malawi

FNI Report 5/2019. Lysaker, FNI, 2019, 49 p.

The Development Fund of Norway (DF), in collaboration with local partners in Malawi, has been implementing different programmes, using the Lead Farmer Extension Approach as the main method. To analyse the relevance, impact and sustainability of the Lead Farmer Extension Approach, the DF commissioned this evaluation. The DF Lead Farmer Extension Approach has proven highly relevant to the needs of the target groups and the policies of the government, as it addresses the most pressing challenges: hunger, poverty and climate change. More than 60% of the target groups have benefitted from the interventions, and the percentage is rising. Yields have increased significantly, and many farmers have also managed to expand their production areas. The effects for food security have been impressive and crop diversification has contributed to better nutrition. Incomes have increased. Local soils have improved in organic content, fertility, structure, texture and water-storage capacity, and crop production has become more resilient to the adverse effects of climate change. Crops grow stronger and bigger and can better resist pests and diseases. Agroforestry and the restoration of tree cover have halted soil erosion. Women have reduced workloads and feel empowered. HIV/AIDS-affected households and farmers with disabilities find great encouragement. The evaluation offers recommendations on how the DF and its partners can consolidate their activities for better quality. It stresses that achieving lasting changes will need more time than foreseen. Specific recommendations concern how crop genetic diversity – the ‘missing link’ in the DF approach – could strengthen climate-resilient farming and further diversify production to improve nutrition. Recommendations are also provided as to how DF and its partners could expand their leadership role in agricultural extension in Malawi.



  • Research Director, Biodiversity and Natural Resources
    +47 95118037

    Show Email