Diversification in East and Southern Africa

In 2023, Ukama Ustawi’s work in Malawi continued across various activities. The Innovation Packages and Scaling Readiness (ISPR) team worked alongside the Adoption of Conservation Agriculture in Smallholder Farming Systems of Southern Africa (ACASA) team to deploy an innovation package for Conservation Agriculture (CA) in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Various Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) strategies were tested through multiple trials in central and southern Malawi, with findings shared in Evaluation and Planning meetings. Biofortified foods were promoted among communities, while two IPSR workshops developed flour and puree products from orange flesh potatoes. UU also initiated a selection process for agribusinesses focusing on CSA and investment readiness, targeting enterprises led by women and youth. The inaugural Virtual Field Tour was also well received. Future plans include starting smallholder mechanization and sweet potato integration trials in Malawi.

In 2024, UU is set to expand its initiatives in Malawi with a focus on enhancing agricultural practices and technologies. A key element of their plan includes the production of a publication that evaluates the performance of four commercial maize genotypes, including hybrids and one open-pollinated variety (OPV). These genotypes will be assessed over seven seasons and managed under different Conservation Agriculture (CA) and conventional practices (CP) across on-farm communities in central and southern Malawi. UU will also engage with farmers through surveys to ensure that technologies are correctly matched to end-users’ needs. Further, UU plans to establish participatory variety evaluation trials and demo plots, as well as initiate maize – Orange-fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) intercropping trials and crop rotation trials in the region. This is in addition to scaling up OFSP varieties through demonstration plots to facilitate technology transfer concerning production and utilization. The introduction of smallholder appropriate-scale mechanization is also on the agenda, alongside a survey on mechanization and livestock opportunities conducted in collaboration with the University of Reading. UU also aims to publish two papers focused on mechanization and irrigation, and on replicating research with the CGIAR Food Systems Accelerator (CFSA) second cohort. These studies will explore the connection between founder resilience and business and climate leadership. And the implementation of the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) for youth will be extended to more households, fostering a more inclusive and sustainable agricultural future in Malawi.


  • Ministry of Agriculture, Malawi
  • Department of Agricultural Research Services (DARS), Malawi
  • Seed Services Unit (SSU) of DARS, Malawi
  • Department of Agriculture Extension Services (DAES)
  • Machinga Agriculture Development Division
  • The Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA)
  • Total Landcare
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