Centre for Agricultural Transformation

Supporting tobacco-dependent farmers to diversify their production, increase incomes, and improve livelihoods
2019 – 2024

The Centre for Agricultural Transformation (CAT), funded by the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World's Agricultural Transformation Initiative, is transforming Malawian agriculture systems and the lives of Malawian smallholder tobacco farmers by giving them access to inclusive innovation in agricultural science and technology through a range of commercialization channels. CAT is driving and accelerating the transformation of Malawi’s agricultural economy, while helping farmers become more prosperous, resilient, diversified and food secure. It is implemented as a consortium comprised of four leading agricultural development and academic institutions: Land O’Lakes Venture37, University of Minnesota, Stellenbosch University, and Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST), with Lilongwe University Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) as a strategic partner.


1. Scaling up Business Incubation and Commercialization

The Centre is scaling up incubation and commercialization for partners in alternative (non-tobacco) value chains through coaching and mentoring, while supporting business acceleration .

2. Increasing Market Access

Through its science, technology and innovation work stream, the CAT uses smart farms, agri-clinics, and remote agri-clinics to help smallholder farmers learn about and adopt diverse technologies.

3. Boosting Incomes

By helping smallholder farmers away from tobacco, the CAT is supporting them as they diversify their businesses to boost incomes.



Malawi faces high inputs cost, low absorption of agricultural technologies by smallholder farmers, and compounding climate-related challenges – including drought, flooding, cyclones, degraded soil fertility, and emergent crop and livestock pests and diseases. The CAT uses climate-smart agriculture approaches to help Malawian smallholder farmers address these challenges.