Africa Research Institute is pleased to announce publication of Planting Ideas, an independent investigation into Malawi’s controversial home-grown subsidy scheme for small farmers. This timely study defies much of the received wisdom to argue that agricultural subsidies can be made to work for rural populations. Malawi is the most densely populated country in southern Africa, and the average size of smallholder plots is falling. Without affordable fertiliser and other inputs, small farmers struggle to grow enough food from over-cultivated soils. Efficient use of fertiliser is vital to avert the dangerous and costly cycle of dependency on food aid.