Malawi, the "Warm love of Africa", is ideal known for its trusted people and also its lake, i beg your pardon covers 20 every cent that the country. A largely farming country, 84 per cent the Malawians live in rural areas where around 11 million are involved in smallholder subsistence farming; yet only one-third of the land is perfect for cultivation due to the fact that of mountains, forests and rough pastures. Despite that, farming accounts for much more than one-third that GDP and 90 per cent that exports.

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Smallholder farmers contribute 75 every cent of food consumed and cultivate part 5.3 million hectares the arable land. Maize, cassava, sweet potatoes, rice, sorghum, groundnuts and also pulses are vital food crops. However, most farmers have less than a hectare on i beg your pardon to flourish the mass of your food which, in combination with decreasing soil fertility and minimal access to credit and also extension services, has seriously limited smallholder productivity.


Maize, cassava, sweet potatoes, rice, sorghum, groundnuts and pulses are crucial crops© FAO/Jon Spaull

To rise maize production and food security, the government has subsidised boosted seed varieties and fertiliser because 2005, complying with several year of drought and chronic food shortages the left one-quarter that the population in require of food aid. The policy functioned well and successive years of bumper harvests have actually resulted in excess maize production. However, the programme is no without controversy; some argue that through donors reducing support due to negative governance, the government cannot afford to proceed subsidising inputs at the expense of other nationwide needs, consisting of health and also education.

Ranked 171st the end of 187 countries on the 2011 UNDP Human advancement Index, Malawi has actually one the the highest maternal mortality prices in the world, if 12 every cent that the working population is HIV-positive. Because of poverty and also a shortage the adult labour resulting native migration and also HIV/AIDS related deaths, Malawi has the highest variety of child labourers in Africa. Eco-friendly tobacco sickness, a form of nicotine poisoning, is no uncommon among Malawi"s estimated 80,000 boy tobacco workers.

Unsustainable practices

Malawi has high population growth, i m sorry is raising the push on its natural resources. Numerous farmers need to cultivate on steep hillsides and also other marginal lands, regularly with poor soil and also water conservation. As much more land is opened up to production, problems such together soil erosion and also the result siltation of rivers and lakes are worsening, exacerbated by high level of deforestation. Follow to the national Forestry programme, the demand for forestry assets is twin what is approximated to it is in sustainable, v wood-fired tobacco processing and also charcoal production including to the pressure on forests from agricultural expansion.


Fish has actually traditionally to be the many affordable source of animal protein but between 1987 and also 2007, the total supply that fish to reduce 20 every cent when the population increased through 60 per cent, leading to a price boost of some 3.5-fold. A recent report, from the ministry of Finance and also Development, has blamed unsustainable fishing practices and climate readjust for the fall in production. In addition to restoring degraded environments for fish breeding and promoting combined aquaculture-agriculture interventions, the report has actually highlighted the need for specialised training to create capacity for understanding the impacts of climate change. Cage aquaculture that provides locally available materials, such together bamboo, has also been highlighted together a an ideal venture because that smallscale farmers follow me the lakes.

Tobacco blues

Coffee, cotton, tea, sugar and also tobacco are the major cash crops. Tobacco alone is approximated to account because that 60-70 per cent of the country"s exports and also takes up 4 per cent the farmland. However overproduction that burley tobacco, poor leaf quality and also anti-smoking projects have caused sector prices come drop, significantly reducing foreign exchange earnings due to the fact that the so late 1990s.

To tackle the trouble of overproduction, the federal government has re-introduced a quota device to regulate production, increase quality and reduce supply. In order to find options to tobacco together an fiddle crop and protect Malawi"s biodiversity, the europe Union is supporting manufacturing of sugarcane and also coffee if USAID is cultivating honey production. The government has also been promoting cotton production and processing, setting aside US$10 million in 2011 to assistance the sector. It really hopes for the establishment of new textile industries which deserve to maximise potential international exchange earnings.

Maximising resources


To minimize farmers" dependency on rain-fed farming and vulnerability come drought, the Greenbelt plan is working to irrigate 1 million hectares that land in ~ 20km the the country"s three lakes and 13 rivers. For this reason far, shortage the fuel for water pumps has restricted uptake, yet there room plans for gravity-fed water jobs in Mulanje, Blantyre and Phalombe. For other farmers, the plan is encouraging them to group together, use organic manure, build ridges to collect rain water, and embrace improved tree spacing.

Since 2006, the Malawi growth and development Strategy (MGDS) has actually been the overarching national breakthrough plan, in which farming and food security, irrigation and transport framework are prioritised. Mechanisation of farming production, value addition, fair international and internal trading and also sustainable exploitation of natural resources are just some the the missions of the Strategy. But with one estimated price of US$9 billion to totally implement the MGDS, Malawi requires far-reaching foreign help to execute the plans.

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Country: Republic the Malawi Capital: Lilongwe Area: 118,484 sq km Population: 15,879,252 (July 2011 est.) Population expansion rate: 2.8% (2011 est.) Life expectancy: 52 (2011 est.) Ethnic groups: Chewa 32.6%, Lomwe 17.6%, Yao 13.5%, Ngoni 11.5%, Tumbuka 8.8%, Nyanja 5.8%, Sena 3.6%, Tonga 2.1%, Ngonde 1%, other 3.5% Languages: Chichewa (official) 57.2%, Chinyanja 12.8%, Chiyao 10.1%, Chitumbuka 9.5%, Chisena 2.7%, Chilomwe 2.4%, Chitonga 1.7%, other 3.6% Inflation: 7.4% (2010 est.) GDP purchasing power parity: US$12.98 exchange rate (2010 est.) GDP every capita: US$800 (2010 est.) GDP composition by sector: agriculture: 30.2%; industry: 16.3%; services: 53.5% (2010 est.) Land use: arable land: 20.68%; long-term crops: 1.18%; other: 78.14% (2005) Major industries: tobacco, tea, sugar, sawmill products, cement, customer goods Agricultural products: tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, tea, maize, potatoes, cassava, sorghum, pulses, groundnuts, macadamia nuts, cattle, goats Natural resources: limestone, arable land, hydropower, unexploited store of uranium, coal, and bauxite Export commodities: tobacco, tea, sugar, cotton, coffee, peanuts, wood products, apparel Export partners: : India 10.4%, Germany 9.7%, south Africa 7.5%, Russia 7.4%, Zimbabwe 7.4%, Canada 6.4%, united state 6.3%, Netherlands 4.7% (2010)

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