This month on our Futurepump tour we are highlighting Malawi and our tier one distributor WOTA. WOTA are based in Lilonqwe, right in the centre of Malawi and to the west of the impressive, lush and fertile lake shores of Lake Malawi (the third largest lake in Africa).
The warm heart of Africa
If you’ve noticed the title of this blog, you might be wondering why Malawi is referred to as the “warm heart of Africa”? Well, it could be (but isn’t!) to do with its temperature which average around the mid 20s (degrees Celsius). It is actually to do with the kindness of the Malawian people. Yes, the World Giving Index (2016) selected Malawi as one of the kindest countries to strangers in the world! Impressive!
It certainly helps to make it a wonderful country to work in and great people to work with!
But who are the people of Malawi?
11 of the 19.8 million people living in Malawi are engaged in smallholder farming, farming, on average, less than one hectare each. The rural livelihoods and subsistence farming traditions of this country seem to drive this “kindness to strangers”. This is with the small farms contributing to both the economy and food security of those within the country. Smallholder farms contribute to around 75% of the food consumed within the country as well as some export crops. Like the farming practices, the main crops grown remain traditional as well, largely maize, cassava, sweet potato and pulses.
Food security and small farms
However, it looks like these small farms are going to have to step up production as a result of growing populations, within Malawi as well as globally. With growing populations the demand for food increases too. This is not a new situation and production has been steadily increasing over the last few decades. This increase has historically been through expansion of cultivated area, simply growing more plants to get more produce.
The FAO reports that this farm expansion is no longer a viable option. Malawi is the most densely populated country in Africa and with this comes pressure on land, smallholders cannot simply expand their farm. This is where a need to explore new technologies and new ways of farming comes into the forefront. Increased irrigation, especially in the smallholder sub-sector is essential for increased crop production.
WOTA – bringing solar irrigation to Malawi
This is where companies like WOTA are getting involved to sell and distribute solar irrigation to smallholder farmers across the country. This is helping to increase production without the need for farm expansion. In the regions around Lake Malawi and the rivers which feed her there is plenty of available water, farmers just need a viable way of getting it to their farms. You can see what WOTA are up to by following their Facebook page where they will be happy to answer any questions you might have!
Look out from more stories from Malawi all this month!
Author: Helen Davies