Agriculture is the backbone of Malawi’s economy, employing 80% of the workforce and sustaining the majority of the population. Small-scale farmers in Malawi face many challenges, low productivity, HIV/AIDs, lack of resources, expensive agriculture inputs and dependency on very few types of crops. Poor rural households experience constant food shortage up to four months a year.

The purpose of the program is to increase access to and utilization of nutritious food for the rural households to be able to produce enough food both for consumption and sale. It also focuses on making poor farmers more robust in facing the impacts of climate change and weather variability.

Empowerment of small-scale farmers and increased local capacity

DF believes that small-scale farmers should be the main actors to change their own lives and communities. Therefore, we put an emphasis on increasing small-scale farmers’ capacity through the implementation of the Lead Farmer Model.

Lead Farmers are village extension agents/volunteers who reside within the target community/villages.  They are selected by the communities to participate in special tailor-made training to address agriculture techniques that will improve small farmers’ productivity. Each Lead Farmer provides training and follow-ups to 20 – 30 follower farmers for the period of three years. A special curriculum is made in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MOAFS) for the training. Some of the Follower Farmers will eventually become Lead Farmers and therefore multiply the extension coverage to more farmers.

Since 2004, more than 30,000 households have increased their food security as a direct result of the Development Fund (DF) of Norway and local partners’ agriculture projects in the central and northern regions of Malawi. Through Sustainable Agriculture Lead Farmer Programme (SALFP) in Malawi our aim is to reach out to 100,000 additional rural households in the districts of Mzimba, Nkhata Bay, Ntchisi, Dowa and Lilongwe, covering a total of 37 Extension Planning Areas (EPAs). At the moment DF is discussing possible funding of SALFP with the embassy of Norway.

Main partners in Malawi:

  • The Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy (CEPA)
  • Network for Youth Development (Nf YD)
  • Find Your Feet (FYF)
  • Mzuzu Agricultural Development Division (MZADD)
  • Trustees for Agricultural Promotion Programme (TAPP)
  • Biodiversity Conservation Initiative (BCI)
  • Heifer International
  • Farmers Forum for Trade & social Justice (FAFOTRAJ)