Soil loss an enemy to Malawi’s development

Every year, soil erosion in Malawi reduces agricultural productivity by 6% putting less food on the table for many households. A 2011 Poverty-Environment Initiative study estimated that if soil erosion would be tackled 1.88 million people could have been lifted out of poverty between 2005 and 2015. 

In an effort to determine the best approach to combat soil erosion the Government of Malawi in collaboration with the UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative and the Food and Agriculture Organization has undertaken a soil loss assessment to update the 1992 soil loss baseline.

The study found that the average national soil loss rates in 2014 were 29 ton per hectare per year. The soil erosion problems in the north of the country arise from the fragile and shallow soil types, lack of good soil management practices, steep slopes, and high erosive rainfall aggravated by a change in land use from natural forest to agriculture due in part to population pressure.

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Massive soil erosion in Malawi reduces agricultural productivity
by 6% per annum, study finds (Image
courtesy of JICA).


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