Agriculture is the main economic activity in Malawi contributing more than 70% to the nation’s GDP. This is impressive showing the lucrativeness of the farming business in the country. Crop farming is predominantly practiced in Malawi than animal husbandry because the country is blessed with adequate rainfall and fertile soil that leads to profitable yield.
If you are interested to make farming a business in Malawi, you have to select a farming niche, obtain a farm site, prepare the farm site, start planting, mulching, plant management, apply fertilizer, and harvest your crop.
Regarding the topic of this informative piece, you need to read through this step-by-step guide to the end to get all the information you need.
How To Start Farming In Malawi Step By Step Guide
The farming business in Malawi is on the rise with youths increasingly showing interest and involvement in the enterprise. That is why venturing into the farming business in Malawi is profitable with the prospect of making a significant livelihood. Below is an extensive discussion on how to start farming in Malawi.
It is time we begin our discussion on how to start farming in Malawi which is extensively discussed below.
Step 1: Select Farming Niche
There is a wide range of farming practices in Malawi which are principally categorized into crop husbandry and animal husbandry. However, the predominantly practiced farming in Malawi is crop planting.
So, if you are to go into crop farming, you have to make your findings to know which farming activity best suit you considering your budget and associated resources.
During this preparation stage, you will have to decide whether you want to start gradually as a small-scale farmer or begin commercial farming as a large-scale farmer.
Whichever you decide will in a long run affect the magnitude of your farming practice over time.
Step 2: Obtain a Farm Site
You have to buy acquire a farm site where you can farm. The size of the land depends on the farming scale you want to begin. Also, before you settle for particular farmland, you have to consider factors such as soil properties, temperature, and access to water.
In addition, the size of farmland to begin farming is a plot if it is vegetable farming, and an acre if it is crop planting.
Step 3: Prepare the Farm Site
Once you’ve acquired suitable farmland to begin your farming enterprise, the next step is to prepare the farmland. To do this, you have to:
Clear the Farmland
Existing trees, grasses, and shrubs, including dirt and debris on your farmland are to be cleared. Clearing activities can be done by employing laborers to perform the job manually using cutlasses, hoes, rakes, and other simple farm tools.
On the other hand, you can use machines such as mini excavators, tractors and backhoes, bulldozers, etc. to clear the farmland. Interestingly, this is the fastest means to clear farmland.
Spray the Farmland
After clearing the land, it is time to spray the farmland. This is an important activity to be carried out so that the soil will be able to resist the re-growth of unwanted plants before and or during planting activities. You can also spray pesticides to keep pests that will be harmful to your plants away from the farmland.
Plough the Farmland
The next action to be carried out is to prepare the soil for the cultivation of seed by tilling the farmland using a plow or other suitable farm tools (hoe). Soil tilling will ensure proper mixing of soil nutrients and at the same time uproot weeds growing beforehand.
Prepare Seed Beds or Planting Holes
You will have to make ridges or planting holes where your crop seedlings will be planted. The type of seedbed you will make depends on the type of crop you want to plant.
If you are planting tree crops, you will have to make planting holes but if you are planting vegetables, root crops, wheat, cereal, and legumes, you will need to make seed beds also known as heaps of farm beds.
Seedbeds can be made manually using hoes and or grub hoes, and machines such as performers can also be used for the same purpose.
Step 4: Start Planting
You must have purchased your crop seedlings from a farm shop or nursery farm. Ensure you go for quality and healthy seeds preferably hybrid seeds that have been treated to resist pests and diseases.
There are different methods of planting. You can plant the crop seeds directly on the farm beds, also you can transplant them by transferring the already sprouted plants on the farm bed to continue germinating.
Step 5: Plant Management
From the planting stage to germination into maturity to the fruiting stage, there is a lot of work to be done to ensure the plants grow properly with high and multiple yields.
It is important to carry out the activities below.
Plants need a constant water supply to grow properly. During the farm preparation stage, you have to make irrigation channels where through which water can flow to keep the soil moist and plants watered.
As you water the plants, avoid overflooding the farm so that the soil nutrients will not be washed away and plant roots not rust leading to plant disease. Ensure water level is moderate at all times.
Mulching is important to help the soil retain moisture and protect the plants from exposure to excess sunlight. Either staple mulching or dirt mulching can be carried out.
Mulching can be done organically using dried weeds, grass, and other plants. Inorganic matters can be used such as polyethylene material.
Weed the Farmland
Weeds tend to grow along with edible plants competing for space, sunlight, and nutrient. You have to remove these unwanted plants so that your crop will avoid competition and grow to the fruiting stage.
Pest and Disease Control
Tons of pests and diseases affect farm plants. To protect your plants from pests and diseases by spraying pesticides that are toxic to pests causing them to stay away from the farm.
Step 6: Apply fertilizer
You have to apply fertilizer to the soil to help replenish nutrients that will be absorbed by the plants to remain healthy and grow faster. The application of fertilizer is to be done at intervals and percentages commensurate to the size of plant growth.
Step 7: Harvest
Once the plants are matured and ripe, they are to be cut down, reaped, and gathered. Harvested plants are taken to the store, cleaned, separated, threshed, and processed to be prepared for marketing.
What Kind of Crops are Grown in Malawi?
Agricultural activities in Malawi are very high and the kind of crops grown in the country are tobacco, tea, cotton, groundnuts, sugar, maize, rice, sorghum, cassava, potatoes, beans and bananas, and coffee.
What Problems Affect Farmers in Malawi?
There are challenges that farmers in Malawi encounter despite the favorable weather and fertile soil. Some of the problems that face farmers in Malawi are:
- Poor land, water, and soil management
- Poor adoption of agricultural technologies
- Poor access to finance
- The low practice of mechanized farming due to poor technical skills
- Poor and limited irrigation system practice
- Poor market accessibility.
What is the Main Cash crop in Malawi?
Malawi’s economy depends largely on the exportation of agricultural products. There are several crops grown in Malawi for commercial purposes. Tobacco is the main cash crop grown in Malawi from among the several crop varieties planted in the country.
What Type of Farming is done in Malawi?
We have mentioned severally in this informative piece that agriculture is the major economic activity in Malawi. The majority of families in the country are involved in farming as a means of livelihood.
Because the majority of farmers are involved in farming for their sustenance and survival rather than for commercial purposes, subsistence farming is highly practiced in the country.
Does Malawi have Fertile Soil?
There are many factors responsible for high agricultural practice in Malawi aside from favorable weather. Another condition responsible for high agricultural practice in Malawi is the availability of fertile soil.
What Percentage of Malawi are farmers?
Malawi is a country that depends heavily on agriculture and the sector is divided into two, small-scale farming and large-scale farming. The South African country has a high number of farmers with a little over 80% of the country’s population involved in farming and farming-related activities.
What Kind of Food do they Eat in Malawi?
Malawi is a culturally diverse country with different ethnic groups settling in the country. Aside from its rich culture, the country has several indigenous mouthwatering cuisines made from local ingredients.
Among the tons of local food prepared in Malawi, below are some of the few we could identify because of their popularity.
Chambo: A Tilapia fish from Lake Malawi is considered a delicacy.
Nsima: This is a staple food of Malawi prepared with maize flour and water.
Kachumbari: This is a simple salad made with tomato and onion.
Nthochi: is referred to as banana bread because it is made with bananas.
How Many Farmers are in Malawi?
Farming is an important occupation in Malawi with the majority of families in Malawi being farmers who major in subsistence farming. There are estimated to be about 3.5 million active farmers in the country.
I hope that from our discussion you have learned something new about how to start farming in Malawi. From our discourse, it is evident that farming in Malawi is not as challenging as you take it to be. This step-by-step guide is to help you begin a profitable farming business and if followed thoroughly, you are sure to make a living out of farming in Malawi and enjoy the benefits.