Learn how this USDA program has forged new opportunities for horticulture in Malawi
In Malawi’s largely agrarian economy, agriculture is the source of income for 85 percent of its population. Most Malawian farmers are smallholders who tend plots as small as a tenth of a hectare. Poor infrastructure limited arable land, and reliance on traditional practices make generating more than a subsistence income challenging.
To address these challenges, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched the $12.1 million Malawi Strengthening Inclusive Markets for Agriculture (MSIKA) project, a Food for Progress initiative implemented by Land O’Lakes Venture37 from 2016 to 2021. The project focused on facilitating increased incomes and improved livelihoods for actors up and down the value chain in Malawi’s fruits and vegetable sector through a two-pronged approach:
- Increasing agricultural productivity in the fruit and vegetable sector by expanding the availability of improved inputs, improving infrastructure to support on-farm production, and training farmers on improved agricultural techniques and technologies.
- Expanding trade of agricultural products in the fruit and vegetable sector by training producers and processors on improved post-production processes, facilitating improved linkages between buyers and sellers, and improving market and trade infrastructure.
As one of the first donor program in the horticulture sector in Malawi, MSIKA pioneered enterprise development and a structured trading system for horticultural products in Malawi. Over the course of four years, MSIKA has laid the foundation for a burgeoning horticulture sector that is now attracting investment from international donors and Malawi businesses alike. In addition to the project’s impressive achievements, listed throughout this report, these future investments are part of MSIKA’s legacy, thanks to its demonstration of what is possible in Malawi’s horticulture sector.