Malawi, the "Warm heart of Africa", is finest known because that its trusted people and also its lake, i beg your pardon covers 20 per cent that the country. A largely agricultural country, 84 per cent of Malawians live in rural areas where around 11 million are engaged in smallholder subsistence farming; but only one-third the the land is an ideal for cultivation since of mountains, forests and also rough pastures. Regardless of that, farming accounts for more than one-third of GDP and also 90 every cent that exports.

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Smallholder farmers contribute 75 per cent the food consumed and also cultivate some 5.3 million hectares of arable land. Maize, cassava, sweet potatoes, rice, sorghum, groundnuts and also pulses are essential food crops. However, many farmers have actually less than a hectare on i m sorry to flourish the mass of your food which, in combination with decreasing soil fertility and minimal access come credit and also extension services, has actually seriously restricted smallholder productivity.


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

To boost maize production and also food security, the government has subsidised enhanced seed varieties and fertiliser since 2005, complying with several year of drought and chronic food shortages the left one-quarter of the populace in need of food aid. The policy worked well and successive years of bumper harvests have resulted in excess maize production. However, the programme is no without controversy; some argue that through donors reducing assistance due to poor governance, the federal government cannot afford to proceed subsidising inputs in ~ the price of other nationwide needs, including health and education.

Ranked 171st the end of 187 countries on the 2011 UNDP Human advance Index, Malawi has actually one the the highest possible 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 work resulting from migration and HIV/AIDS related deaths, Malawi has the highest variety of child labourers in Africa. Environment-friendly tobacco sickness, a type of nicotine poisoning, is not uncommon among Malawi"s approximated 80,000 son tobacco workers.

Unsustainable practices

Malawi has high population growth, i m sorry is boosting the pressure on its herbal resources. Plenty of farmers need to cultivate ~ above steep hillsides and other marginal lands, regularly with insufficient soil and water conservation. As much more land is opened up come production, troubles such as soil erosion and the result siltation the rivers and lakes are worsening, exacerbated through high levels of deforestation. Follow to the nationwide Forestry programme, the need for forestry commodities is double what is approximated to it is in sustainable, through wood-fired tobacco processing and also charcoal production including to the press on forests from agricultural expansion.


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Fish has actually traditionally been the most affordable source of animal protein but in between 1987 and 2007, the full supply that fish to reduce 20 per cent while the population increased through 60 every cent, leading to a price rise of some 3.5-fold. A current report, native the to adjust of Finance and Development, has blamed unsustainable fishing practices and climate change for the fall in production. In enhancement to restoring degraded settings for fish breeding and also promoting incorporated aquaculture-agriculture interventions, the report has highlighted the need for specialty training to develop capacity for expertise the impacts of climate change. Cage aquaculture that offers locally available materials, such together bamboo, has additionally been highlighted together a perfect venture for smallscale farmers follow me the lakes.

Tobacco blues

Coffee, cotton, tea, sugar and tobacco space the principal cash crops. Tobacco alone is approximated to account for 60-70 every cent the the country"s exports and takes up four per cent the farmland. Yet overproduction of burley tobacco, bad leaf quality and also anti-smoking projects have caused sector prices to drop, substantially reducing international exchange earnings due to the fact that the so late 1990s.

To tackle the problem of overproduction, the government has re-introduced a quota system to manage production, increase quality and also reduce supply. In order come find choices to tobacco as an export crop and also protect Malawi"s biodiversity, the europe Union is supporting manufacturing of sugarcane and also coffee when USAID is cultivating honey production. The federal government has additionally been promoting cotton production and processing, setup aside US$10 million in 2011 to assistance the sector. It hopes for the facility of brand-new textile sectors which have the right to maximise potential foreign exchange earnings.

Maximising resources


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To reduce farmers" dependence on rain-fed farming and vulnerability to drought, the Greenbelt to plan is working to irrigate 1 million hectares that land within 20km of the country"s three lakes and also 13 rivers. So far, shortage the fuel because that water pumps has limited uptake, but there are plans for gravity-fed water jobs in Mulanje, Blantyre and Phalombe. For various other farmers, the initiative is encouraging castle to group together, use organic manure, construct ridges to collect rain water, and adopt improved plant spacing.

Since 2006, the Malawi expansion and development Strategy (MGDS) has been the overarching national advancement plan, in which agriculture and food security, irrigation and also transport framework are prioritised. Mechanisation of farming production, value addition, fair international and internal trading and also sustainable exploitation of organic resources are simply some the the goals of the Strategy. Yet with one estimated cost of US$9 exchange rate to completely implement the MGDS, Malawi requires far-reaching foreign assistance to execute the plans.

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Country: Republic the Malawi Capital: Lilongwe Area: 118,484 sq kilometres Population: 15,879,252 (July 2011 est.) Population growth 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%, various 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%, various other 3.6% Inflation: 7.4% (2010 est.) GDP purchasing strength parity: US$12.98 billion (2010 est.) GDP per 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%; irreversible 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 deposits of uranium, coal, and also bauxite Export commodities: tobacco, tea, sugar, cotton, coffee, peanuts, hardwood products, apparel Export partners: : India 10.4%, Germany 9.7%, southern Africa 7.5%, Russia 7.4%, Zimbabwe 7.4%, Canada 6.4%, united state 6.3%, Netherlands 4.7% (2010)

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