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Kawandama Hills Plantation / Lucheche Cooperative

USAID Malawi’s partnership with the Kawandama Hills Plantation and the Lucheche Cooperative supports a growing sustainable business, replenishes Malawi’s forests, and raises household incomes. #SELFRELIANCE


In 2016, the USAID’s PERFORM Project awarded a grant to Kawandama Hills Plantation (KHP), a Malawian company. Through this grant, KHP expanded its plantation by 90 hectares, and the members of the Lucheche Cooperative (LC) planted another 30 hectares on private land. KHP and the LC harvest the planted Corymbia citriodora trees’ leaves, from which KHP distills export-quality citronellal, a fragrant lemon eucalyptus essential oil used in the natural insect repellent, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and perfume industries. Under this sustainable, environmentally-friendly business model, KHP and LC have improved 120 hectares of degraded land and KHP, and with wood biomass from the trees, produces Malawi’s only legal and sustainably-sourced charcoal. LC members have used their monetary earnings to pay for agricultural inputs, livestock, modern houses, and school fees among other things. In addition, LC members use the trees’ branches for their household energy and/or construction needs such as fences and livestock corrals.

Key Impacts:

  • USAID has played an important role in enhancing the capacity of Kawandama Hills Plantation, a Malawian company, to compete in the global marketplace, and specifically to increase economic opportunities for smallholder farmers.
  • Kawandama Hills Plantation and Lucheche Cooperative are making a long-term contribution to Malawi’s limited export portfolio and to an estimated $17.36 billion global essential oil market.
  • Lucheche Cooperative members are smallholder farmers who collectively earned $1,630 in 2017, with the highest-earning cooperative member making more than $260 from the sale of his leaf harvest to Kawandama Hills Plantation in 2017—a life-changing amount in Malawi where the World Bank calculates gross domestic product (GDP) per capita at $300.80.2
  • As a result of USAID’s grant, direct employment has increased from 38 to more than 150 at the plantation. In addition, the out-grower scheme has supported more than 121 smallholder farmers.
  • Trees planted on degraded lands improve soil stability and water retention, and the wood by- product provides firewood and building materials for Lucheche Cooperative members— decreasing pressure on indigenous forests.
  • The USAID/Malawi grant is a three-year investment that will yield meaningful income and livelihood benefits every year, for at least 20 years, as the trees mature and produce more leaves and wood by-product for essential oil and sustainable charcoal production.

Last updated: October 15, 2019

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