Christopher Chibwana graduated from Purdue University with a Master's in Agricultural Economics in 2010. For his 2008 Borlaug LEAP Fellowship, he conducted research and published on the impacts of Malawi's Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) - a major Government of Malawi policy that provides subsidized seeds and fertilizers to 1.5 million smallholder households to improve their food security and increase incomes. Upon graduation, he joined the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), which was also his CGIAR host institution. Since November 2010, Chibwana has been working as a Program Development Specialist at USAID/Malawi.
Chibwana currently manages three programs, two of which directly support Malawi's Ministry of Agriculture. He manages the Borlaug Higher Education for Agricultural Research and Development (BHEARD) program, a USAID initiative that honors Dr. Norman Borlaug's legacy, whose purpose is to increase the number of agricultural scientists and strengthen scientific institutions in developing countries. In Malawi, the program is supporting long-term training of agricultural researchers from the Ministry of Agriculture and the country's premier agricultural university, the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, at the master’s and doctoral levels. He also manages another program, implemented by IFPRI, that is building the capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture to use scientific evidence in decision making for agricultural policy.
Chibwana says his Borlaug LEAP fellowship opened up a new world of opportunity for him. "I was hired by USAID/Malawi primarily because of my thesis research, which was funded through the fellowship." While it is always impossible to attribute policy reform to recommendations provided in specific research articles, he is happy to have contributed to the body of scientific evidence around the FISP, which has informed the evolution of the program over the past 4 years. "Thanks to the Borlaug LEAP Fellowship, I am considered one of a few indigenous thought leaders on the Farm Input Subsidy Program," notes Chibwana.