Malawi is a landlocked country situated in Southern Africa. Described as “The warm heart of Africa”, Malawi is a great destination for WWOOFing volunteers to visit; it has beautiful scenery, a stunning lake with World class snorkelling and a range of wildlife safaris and national parks to explore.
Unfortunately, Malawi is also one of the poorest countries in the world; poverty and inequality are widespread. According to the World Bank, over half of the population is poor, while one quarter lives in extreme poverty. The majority of the poor are locked in low productivity subsistence farming. Child mortality is a problem, with many children not making it to their fifth birthday, while life expectancy is only 58. (WHO 2011) In addition, Malawi is also affected by a lack of access to adequate education, water and sanitation, high HIV/AIDS rates, gender equality and gender-based violence.
Agriculture in Malawi
It is anticipated that more than 90% of the population living in rural areas in Malawi rely on agriculture as their main source of income and food. The majority of the poor are locked in low productivity subsistence farming. Crops grown in Malawi include: maize, millet, cotton, sorghum, cassava, potatoes, sugar cane, sweet potatoes and ground beans. Smallholder farmers face many setbacks in agriculture such as: inadequate access to markets, relevant knowledge, skills and farm implements, which leads to poor production standards. Malawi is also highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change such as, prolonged dry spells, rainfall shortages and flooding which are significantly affecting agriculture and rural livelihoods.