Market-oriented Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion Project  (MA-SHEP)

Agriculture sector is the most important industry in Malawi, accounting for 33 % of GDP, and approximately 80 % of labour force is engaged in agriculture.
Horticulture is one of the important sub-sectors with its main role in income and food security. It is however, affected by marketing challenges at local, regional and international levels mainly due to perishability of their products. It has also been noted that most of the smallholder farmers involved in production do not consider farming as their business and operate as individuals. Most of the extension approaches have also emphasized on production aspects rather than marketing aspects.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has started “Training Program for Market-Oriented Agriculture for Smallholder Farmers” since 2014. After the training in Japan, ex-participants of this training started to implement the pilot project in Ntchisi District. In the course of the pilot project implementation, considerable positive changes were observed among the target farmer groups, such as embarking upon collective marketing and improving bargaining power. Recognizing this result, the Government of Malawi (GOM) requested the Government of Japan (GOJ) for the technical cooperation to support GOM in promoting and scaling up market-oriented agriculture for smallholder horticulture farmers based on the experience in the pilot project

OUTLINE OF THE PROJECT                                    

  • Objectives

Expected goals which will be attained through implementing the Project are:

  • Overall Goal:Livelihood of smallholder farmers is improved through practicing the MA-SHEP Package.
  • Project Purpose:The income of the members of the farmer's groups targeted by the Project is increased.
  • Target area


  • Duration of the Project

From 9th April, 2017 to 8th April, 2023 (6 years)

  • Implementation agencies

Implementation Agency:Department of Agriculture Extension Services (DAES), Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)

Cooperation Agency:Department of Crops Development (DCD), Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)


About 320 officers of MoAIWD (from Headquarters, ADDs, Districts and EPAs)

About 2,800 smallholder horticulture farmers

SHEP Multimedia Teaching Materials and Public Relations


  1. JICA's website on SHEP Approach


  1. MA-SHEP Project Website


  1. SHEP Facebook Page


  1. SHEP Handbook for Extension Staff

This handbook is based on practical experience applying the SHEP approach to extension activities. It was made with a mind to provide those engaged in extension work with something that they can implement immediately.

SHEP Hand book for Extension Staff (PDF/4.98MB)

  1. "Introduction to the Psychology of International Cooperation"

We took our on-site experiences with technical cooperation in the agriculture and rural development sector and attempted to both analyze them and translate them into explicit knowledge based on theories of psychological motivation—a critical part of the SHEP approach. (external link)

  1. Multimedia Teaching Material The SHEP Approach Training Digest

(Full Ver.)

(Digest Ver.)

  1. GFRAS The New Extensionist Learning Kit

To disseminate the SHEP concept further beyond the JICA project community a collaboration was initiated with the Global Forum for Rurals Advisory Services (GFRAS) to bring the SHEP learning concept available on the GFRAS New Extensionist Learning Kit (NELK) website.

  1. SHEP Game

What does it take to make money in agriculture? "Fun Fun Farming!" is a free app that lets users think about this question while they play an entertaining game.

For smartphone, Android / iOS are available at Google Play/App Store.

  1. YouTube channel

Connect with us

Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters,

P.O. Box 30134, Lilongwe 3

Phone: +265 (0) 1 788 738

Fax: +265 (0) 1 788 908


Physical Location:Ministry of Agriculture

Headquarters Building,

Capital Hill, Lilongwe


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2023-05-28 07:07