Farmers in the Balaka District of Malawi are struggling to grow enough food to feed their families and earn an income.
The impacts of climate change, more frequent and longer periods of drought combined with flooding when rain finally comes, are making it almost impossible to make farming a viable way of life. Whole farming communities are sinking deeper into poverty.
80% of farmers in Malawi use poor quality seeds of predominantly maize crop, causing ever smaller and unreliable yields. Farmers also struggle to access high yielding and drought tolerant seeds.
Malawi ranks at 87/119 on the Global Hunger Index
The Ingenious Solution
The project will reduce hunger and vulnerability to climate change of farmers by diversifying and improving crop production, using a range of locally-adapted and climate resilient seeds.
Our innovative approach will promote a new nationwide market for high quality farmer-saved seeds, underpinned by the development of a new policy framework that protects and promotes farmers’ rights to grow, save and trade traditional seeds. This has not been done before in Malawi, or Southern Africa.
- Combine seed scientist and local farmer knowledge to select local and climate-resilient seeds.
- Train farmers to choose, store and replant saved seeds (the practice of saving seeds from crops, to use from year to year.) using agroecology techniques.
- Empower farmers to share their knowledge and methods with others.
- Link up small farming groups to form larger seed producer associations, to build farmer knowledge and the skills needed to marker their quality saved seeds. These associations will eventually be officially recognised by government service providers.
- Evidence from this project will help change policy in Malawi so that farmer-saved seeds are formally recognised as valuable to growing food in a changing climate.
Location: Balaka District, Southern Malawi
Duration: 2020 – 2022
Funder: Innocent Foundation
Partners: Malawi Genetic Resources Centre