New animation for Malawi Oilseeds Sector Transformation programme

Big Blue Communications recently worked with the Malawi Oilseeds Sector Transformation (MOST) programme funded by the UK Department for International Development to create a summary animation that captures the programme’s key learning points. The film is a take on classic whiteboard explainer videos combined with digital art and motion graphics. Here’s the story.

The MOST story

Over the last five years the Malawi Oilseeds Sector Transformation programme has helped to increase the incomes of around 160,000 rural farmer households that grow seed crops like cotton, sesame and soybean.

MOST adopted a ‘market systems development approach’, using the creation of new markets to improve livelihoods. It connects agriculture businesses with farmer households to buy and sell oilseed crops and related products from one another in sustainable ways.

To do this, MOST supported a series of pilot projects that test new ways of bringing buyers and suppliers together. For instance, seed inoculants, drought insurance, and pesticide spray services have been successfully introduced.

Partnership to create the animation

The MOST programme is implemented by UK-based international development consultancy and top-10 DFID supplier IMC Worldwide in partnership with experts from Malawi-based consulting team Kadale Consultants.

Together, we created a compelling script, appropriate audio and music, and informational high-impact visuals. For us, it was a privilege to learn about the powerful results that MOST has achieved and then turn those into a useful, engaging, memorable two-minute audio-visual experience.

Sharing MOST learning points

MOST will conclude in late 2018, and it is now sharing its knowledge among the Malawi private and public sectors, DFID, and the global market systems development community. The activities include close-out/learning events, learning materials such as short briefs on issues such as gender and adaptive programming, and this summary animation.

To see their research materials and learn more about the programme, visit the MOST website at, and find the programme on Twitter @mostprogramme

The Malawi Oilseeds Sector Transformation (MOST) programme is a £7m, 5-year market systems development programme funded by UKaid. It aims to increase the incomes of poor women and men working in Malawi’s cotton, groundnut, soybean, sesame and sunflower markets. MOST seeks a transformational impact by supporting changes in the market system that fundamentally alter the way business is done to ensure greater benefits for the poor. MOST works with a range of market actors – private, public and development – to pilot and scale up new business models and to stimulate a more competitive market system.

Animation script

“The Malawi Oilseed Sector Transformation programme has helped to increase the incomes of over 160,000 rural households. These households grow crops for seeds like cotton, sesame, and soybean.

We achieved this transformation by developing a market between Malawian farmers and businesses. We helped businesses to see value in selling farm inputs to rural households. Those same households then sell oilseed crops back to those businesses in viable ways.

We explored market opportunities, identified interested companies, and we supported pilot projects that test new ways to reach rural buyers and suppliers. Companies tailored their farm products, used channels that reach rural areas sustainably, and introduced new products like inoculants.

The programme also pioneered incentive-based contract farming, by which businesses sell inputs to farmers, then buy back the resulting crops and recover the input credit.

Not all pilots succeeded, but through rapid assessments, the programme helped firms to quickly adapt their approaches. Challenges such as drought and pests were opportunities to innovate with drought insurance and paid-for spray services.

For policy challenges such as export restrictions and minimum price-setting, we supported market players to engage government. Meanwhile, companies were encouraged to focus on sustainable business opportunities rather than short-term funding to implement donor programmes.

This programme has shown the Malawian private sector that the poor are a viable market. And now, we invite market systems practitioners around the world to engage with our research materials that capture the programme’s experiences.”