Malawi - Agriculture

A lush climate and rich soil make Malawi well suited for agriculture, which is central to the country's economy and national life, occupying 86 percent of its workforce, and making up 38 percent of its GDP and 90 percent of its export earnings.

The main staple crop is maize, grown by smallholder farmers mostly at the subsistence level. Production varies, and depending on climate conditions, maize may be imported or exported. Sorghum, millet, pulses, root crops, and fruit are also grown. Another staple, as well as an important source of protein, is fish from Lake Malawi. The fishing industry accounts for about 200,000 jobs, but problems with pollution and over-fishing threaten to reduce yields.

Malawi's commercial farming sector is concentrated on large estates in the south and around Lilongwe. Its main product is tobacco, which typically accounts for between 50 percent and 70 percent of Malawi's export earnings. Formerly held back by government price controls and grower regulations, the liberalization of the industry in the 1990s has seen steady increases in profits for growers and a sharp rise in smallholder tobacco production, making Malawi one of the leading tobacco producers in the world. Nevertheless, the industry as a whole has been hard hit by the drop in world tobacco prices, which has cut tobacco export revenues from US$332 million in 1998 to US$218 million in 2000. As a consequence, Malawi's growers are being encouraged to concentrate on other traditional cash crops, such as tea and sugar, or diversify into new crops, such as paprika, macadamia, citrus fruits, vegetables, and cut flowers. Tea is Malawi's second most important cash crop, and Malawi is Africa's second largest producer of it. In 2000 tea accounted for about 10 percent of exports, or about US$44 million. Sugar is also significant, and made up about 6 percent of exports, or US$27 million.

Also read article about Malawi from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

Report this comment as inappropriate
Nov 25, 2010 @ 7:19 pm
used this source in first paragraph, about the 50-70 % fact, quoted it, need to figure out how to cite this source
alfoncina
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 14, 2012 @ 9:09 am
good information it really helped me with my project thanks
derek
Report this comment as inappropriate
May 17, 2012 @ 5:05 am
good and helped me with my high shool task i really found the information good
FREDDIE
Report this comment as inappropriate
Jan 10, 2013 @ 8:08 am
Very short and precise. With the current new job in the field of Agriculture that Im to carry in four countries in SADC including Malawi,I found this information viable and useful and now have a broad picture on where to start because my mind attained a positive consensus starting point.
T'Shay
Report this comment as inappropriate
Mar 12, 2013 @ 3:15 pm
THANK YOU SO MUCH THIS HELPED ME SO MUCH ON MY GEOGRAPHY ONLINE CLASS

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA


Malawi forum