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Special initiative ONE WORLD – No Hunger

Green innovation centre Malawi

A farmer in handtractor training: At the Agricultural and Natural Sciences University of Malawi, farmers can borrow tractors at low prices on a daily basis.

Whenever any rain falls in Malawi, it is more and more often the case that it does so only sparingly. A large part of the harvest is then destroyed by drought. Another problem is that smallholders lack the money to be able to either borrow or purchase machinery which will help them to produce a greater yield from their land. Most of them cannot afford fertiliser or good quality seed either. Roughly two thirds of the population of Malawi is regarded as extremely poor.

The green innovation centre in Malawi is helping to ensure that oil seeds such as peanuts, sunflowers and soybeans can provide farmers in future with the income they urgently require. Furthermore, together with cassava, oil seeds add variety to the diet, which in turn improves the nutritional status. At present, around one fifth of Malawi’s population is malnourished.

What is so innovative?

The yellow root: Yellow cassava is more resistant to pests and richer in vitamins than the white variety. The green innovation centre is supporting smallholders in Malawi in their efforts to cultivate new varieties of cassava which can be used in different ways. Some varieties are healthier while others can be processed into starch and flour more easily. Farmers are therefore able to sell a part of what they harvest to the food processing industry and earn extra income.

Tractor driving school: The Lilongwe University of Agricultural and Natural Resources in Malawi is developing a tractor rental service. Here, tractors can be hired by the day at favourable prices. To ensure that they are able to use the machines correctly once they are on the field, farmers can also take tractor driving lessons at the same time as hiring a vehicle.

Repair service just a call away: Should farmers require help repairing their small agricultural machines, they can call a hotline and have a mobile maintenance vehicle come out to them on their farm. The vehicle is kitted out with the necessary tools to carry out any repairs on the ground which do not require the use of fixed workshop equipment.


Our objectives

  • To increase income for 40,000 smallholders by 26 per cent
  • To create 600 new jobs
  • To provide education and training for 40,000 smallholders

Routes to success

It is a special day for the inhabitants of the village of Zingiziwa in northern Malawi as they are collectively installing a drip irrigation system. Farmer Mishek Kaenda looks out across the desiccated ground: "This year we were only able to plant half of these fields." This is a disastrous state of affairs since most smallholders in Zingiziwa grow food on the barren soils so that their families can survive. However, the success of the harvest depends on the rain. During periods of drought, which have occurred with increasing regularity in recent years as a result of climate change, crop failures quickly lead to hunger crises. 

For eight years now, Zingiziwa has had a well with a solar-powered pump to help irrigate collectively owned land measuring around seven hectares in size. The water it provides enables 52 farmers to fill their watering cans so that they can water their sections of the land. "The well does not always carry enough water and it takes me four hours each day to irrigate the field using the watering can", explains Kaenda. All he needs to do with the drip irrigation system, however, is to switch it on and then switch it off again after one or two hours. It provides the plants with moisture directly at their roots. That saves a lot of time and, above all, water. "Thanks to the new irrigation system, we can use every drop", says Mishek Kaenda happily.


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