Trade, agriculture and food security

On Thursday 3rd August 2017, we invited members, partners and stakeholders to attend a meeting looking at Scotland-Malawi joint-working in food security, agriculture and associated areas, including land ownership, nutrition, irrigation, water resource management, etc.

We hope the meeting presented an innovative new modality of working as we look to creating as much engaging online content as possible, such that the sharing can continue beyond and after the meeting.

As per the above, we are inviting short (max 3 mins) video inputs from key stakeholders in both Malawi and Scotland:

  • highlighting your organisation's work in this area;
  • sharing your learning and experience; and/or
  • identifying priorities, opportunities or challenges from your perspective.

To send your video input or request support with this, please email

Voices of experience

Our videos below feature members, partners and stakeholders sharing experiences working within the agriculture sector in Malawi.

Background information

Currently Malawi is operating with a trade deficit of around US$600 million, with imports of US$1.1 billion versus exports US$500 million. Of these exports approximately 60% (US$300 million) come from a single crop, tobacco. As a result, developing and realising opportunities for diversification and increasing exports is a key priority for the Government of Malawi.

Like many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture is a critical sector for the Malawian economy. It represents up to 85% of the labour force, 35% of GDP, 90% of foreign exports and 65% of raw material for industry. The sector is split in two: the estates and small-holdings. Around 85% of Malawi’s population are small-holder farmers, who most commonly cultivate maize for subsistence. In the past, droughts, disease, high population growth and disjointed policies in Malawi have made small-holder farmers vulnerable to food insecurity.

However, successful policies and programmes, for example crop diversification and irrigation, agricultural input subsidies, value-adding processing, climate smart agriculture and village grain banks have led to a marked turnaround in crop yields and food security.

Supporting Sustainable Livelihoods

There are a number of Scotland-Malawi links that are spearheading innovative, working with local institutions (e.g. co-operatives and famer associations) on grass-roots solutions that are people centric and work towards strengthening the agricultural sector in Malawi to reduce poverty and hunger.

These efforts not only improve food security and resilience, but also provide much needed opportunities for sustainable livelihood through the cultivation and sale of fairly traded cash crops, such as coffee, tea, sugar, rice, fruit and paprika.

The SMP hosts a forum on Business, Investment, Trade and Tourism which meets quarterly with aim of: bringing people together to share knowledge and ideas, and explore opportunities for partnership and collaboration. In line with the priorities of Malawi the forum covers four main areas: agriculture and trade; tourism; renewable energy; and extractive industries.