The Importance of Prison Farms: Evidence from Malawi’s Prisons

Hastings B. Moloko, Davis H. Ng’ong’ola, Henry Kamkwamba


While Malawi’s per capita cereal production may be higher than her per capita cereal consumption, Malawi is a net cereal importer and thus food insecure. The food situation is much worse in Malawi’s prisons because inmates generally eat one meal per day.

The general objective of this study was to determine the importance of farms in Malawi’s prisons by comparing food insecurity in prisons with farms to that in prisons without farms. Using structured questionnaires in face to face interviews, the study collected data from 1000 prisoners and 30 officers-in-charge from all prisons in the country. The data was analysed using Stata 12 and employed the probit and the Foster-Greer-Thorbecke (FGT) models as an analytical tools.

Results from the analysis showed that practically all prisoners in Malawi’s prisons were food insecure. There was a higher perception of food insecurity in prisons without farms than there was in prisons with farms. Conditions of severe food insecurity were experienced more in non-farmed prisons than in farmed prisons, and more prisoners in non-farmed prisons depended on food brought to them from their homes. Food insecurity was more prevalent in prisons without farms than in prisons with farms.

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Copyright (c) 2018 Hastings B. Moloko, Davis H. Ng’ong’ola, Henry Kamkwamba

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Sustainable Agriculture Research   ISSN 1927-050X (Print)   ISSN 1927-0518 (Online)  E-mail:

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