Smallholder farmers cultivate 90% of the arable land in Malawi and face many challenges including declining soil fertility, erratic rainfall, land constraints, and poor institutional support. With limited access to credit, inputs, and price information, the typical farmer struggles to support a family of six on only one hectare of land. Malnutrition particularly affects children: 47% of children under 5 are stunted. Therefore, agriculture, nutrition, and climate-resilient growth are top development priorities for USAID. Through partnerships with the Government of Malawi and local non-governmental organizations, USAID is spearheading innovative programs to strengthen smallholder farmers’ economic and climatic resiliency.
The Feed the Future (FTF) initiative invests in the groundnut, soya and orange-fleshed sweet potato value chains, as well as nutrition behavior change efforts for pregnant and lactating women and children under three.
- Helped 95,748 farmers plant soy, representing 42% of total soy producers in the areas where FTF focuses, known as Zones of Influence (ZOI);
- Facilitated soy planting on 33,645 hectares, a nearly six-fold increase over the previous year’s 5,542 hectares.
- Aided 103,994 smallholder groundnut farmers, representing 23% of total groundnut producers in the ZOI, to plant 33,173 hectares;
- Improved the nutrition of 112,560 children with community-based Care Group activities that provided women with education and cooking demonstrations with nourishing foods like soybean and groundnut.
USAID supports sustainable livelihoods by addressing climate change, agriculture development, nutrition, and trade.
Development Alternatives Inc.
International Food Policy Research Institute
Michigan State University
Catholic Relief Services
United States Forest Service
Farmers Union of Malawi
Lilongwe, Mchinji, Dedza, Ntcheu, Balaka, Machinga, Mangochi, Blantyre Rural, Chikwawa and Nsanje
John Edgar, Office Director, Sustainable Economic Growth
Last updated: March 17, 2015