There are a number of Scotland-Malawi links that are spearheading innovation, working with local institutions (e.g. co-operatives and farmer associations) on grass-roots solutions that are people-centric and work towards strengthening the agricultural sector in Malawi to reduce poverty and hunger.
Currently Malawi is operating with a trade deficit of around US$600 million, with imports of US$1.1 billion versus exports US$500 million. Of these exports approximately 60% (US$300 million) come from a single crop, tobacco. As a result, developing and realising opportunities for diversification and increasing exports is a key priority for the Government of Malawi.
Like many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture is a critical sector for the Malawian economy. It represents up to 85% of the labour force, 35% of GDP, 90% of foreign exports and 65% of raw material for industry. The sector is split in two: the estates and small-holdings. Around 85% of Malawi’s population are small-holder farmers, who most commonly cultivate maize for subsistence. In the past, droughts, disease, high population growth and disjointed policies in Malawi have made small-holder farmers vulnerable to food insecurity. However, successful policies and programmes, for example crop diversification and irrigation, agricultural input subsidies, value-adding processing, climate smart agriculture and village grain banks have led to a marked turnaround in crop yields and food security.
Supporting sustainable livelihoods
There are a number of Scotland-Malawi links that are spearheading innovative, working with local institutions (e.g. co-operatives and famer associations) on grass-roots solutions that are people centric and work towards strengthening the agricultural sector in Malawi to reduce poverty and hunger.
These efforts not only improve food security and resilience, but also provide much needed opportunities for sustainable livelihood through the cultivation and sale of fairly traded cash crops, such as coffee, tea, sugar, rice, fruit and paprika.
The SMP hosts a forum on Business, Investment, Trade and Tourism which meets quarterly with aim of: bringing people together to share knowledge and ideas, and explore opportunities for partnership and collaboration. In line with the priorities of Malawi the forum covers four main areas: agriculture and trade; tourism; renewable energy; and extractive industries.