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This paper describes the Malawi agricultural input subsidy programme (MAISP) from 2005/06 to 2008/09,1 with occasional reference to the 2009/10 implementation. Following this introduction, we provide background information about the constraints and opportunities facing Malawi’s agriculture and its role in people’s and the nation’s livelihoods. A description follows of core and changing elements, implementation achievements and programme outcomes. We conclude with a discussion of the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of the programme and its benefits, and of the wider applicability of the lessons outside Malawi.