Promising practices: Lead Farmer project in Malawi

Promising practices: Lead Farmer project in Malawi

Helping farmers learn from each other: the Lead Farmer project in Malawi

Food insecurity is one of the major threats that the people of Malawi face. 90% of Malawian farmers are smallholders who face a host of challenges in their farming activities, including:

  • small land size
  • poor soils
  • high cost of farm inputs
  • erratic rainfall
  • lack of appropriate technology
  • lack of market for crops
  • high prevalence of HIV/AIDS
  • lack of skills and knowledge
  • shortage of government extension workers
Farmers are often reluctant to learn from outside technical experts, so the lead farmer concept uses farmers who have adopted sustainable farming techniques to disseminate technical messages to other farmers. Project interventions included:
  • training of lead farmers
  • compost manure making and use
  • soil and water conservation management
  • agroforestry nursery management
  • winter production
  • crop diversification
  • community seed banks
  • livestock management
The Lead Farmer Project is one of a range of “Promising Practices” being funded by the Development Fund of Norway, to support experiences that can provide insights elsewhere, as long as care is taken to adapt to local circumstances.
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