This article was originally published on WRI website
Nicknamed the “warm heart of Africa” for the friendliness of its people, Malawi’s humid, tropical climate and fertile soils match its culture. But the country faces many challenges, especially as its population grows by 2.7% per year.
The agriculture, charcoal and tobacco industries are driving deforestation throughout Malawi and threatening the natural resources that underpin the country’s economy. Land degradation already drains $320 million annually from the economy due to declining ecosystem services (e.g. food availability, wood production, carbon sequestration, water regulation flows, etc.) — equal to 7% of the country's GDP — while threatening food security, water supplies and local incomes. Restoring that land can reverse degradation in Malawi and bring prosperity to rural communities: Research shows that every $1 invested can bring $3 in benefits.
Above: A man waters young trees in Malawi. Women and young people are the agents of change in restoring Malawi's degraded landscapes. Photo by Digital Footprints Multimedia/WRI
Entrepreneurs in Malawi Can Reverse Land Degradation
Malawi’s government made an ambitious pledge in 2016 to restore 4.5 million hectares of land through AFR100, a locally led movement to restore 100 million hectares of Africa’s land. It also developed a comprehensive National Forest Landscape Restoration Strategy, with the goal of creating a self-sustaining movement to heal the land.
The government can’t achieve these goals on its own. It needs to empower local entrepreneurs to build small- and medium-sized businesses that can create long-term social, environmental and economic impact for rural communities. Connecting these start-ups, community groups and local government leaders with training and resources can turn them into effective engines for land restoration and rural prosperity.
To that end, mHub and WRI selected 20 land-restoring entrepreneurs that sustainably manage natural resources and energy to participate in the first Land Accelerator xMalawi. The two-month training and mentorship program connected them with mentors and improved their investor pitches in order to scale their businesses and sell their products more effectively.
Building on WRI’s continent-wide Land Accelerator Africa, the Malawi cohort joins a global network of 191 land restoration entrepreneurs that have helped more than 1.2 million farmers and created more than 13,000 jobs across Africa, Latin America and South Asia.
Here’s a look at who they are and how they’re helping to restore Malawi’s natural resources:
African Honey and Food Products
Contact: Fredrick Mattress
African Honey and Food Products is a leading player in the production of honey and rearing of bees in Lilongwe, Malawi. Its members’ activities cut across the whole value chain. It aims to have a huge impact on smallholders that are mostly women and youth, while also influencing forest restoration and environmental conservation.
Contact: Lizzie Msowoya
C&CM Enterprise produces high-quality Arabian coffee, bringing a taste of Malawi to the world. The business provides a personalized and aromatic coffee, bringing diversity to the products that Malawi exports.
Dzalanyama Kampombedza Honey
Contact: Yollasi Zuwawo
Phone: +265999 450 580
Dzalanyama Kampombedza Honey is a local business based in Dzalanyama, Lilongwe. It produces and sells honey to Maluso and tourists. Its main aim is to provide local families with stable income through a sustainable honey value chain.
Contact: Chifundo Nanchukwa
Fecko Investments aims to provide a learning environment for smallholder farmers while growing and preserving trees on their coffee farms. It supports small businesses by helping process, package and sell coffee within and outside Malawi.
Honey Products Limited
Contact: Matthews Dunga
Honey Products Limited is a macro-franchise business that provides easy access to honey and other bee products. The company also provides job training to youth who have dropped out of school, equipping them with knowledge and resources. Their main aim is to empower youth and transform honey production in rural areas.
Kabunduli Honey Cooperative
Contact: Elias M Banda
At Kabunduli Honey Cooperative “more trees mean more bees and more honey.” The company aims to increase its honey production by planting and growing trees, therefore securing and increasing income. The business’s main goal is to be a leading honey producer in Malawi.
Kachindamoto Community Development Organization
Contact: Abraham Kathako
Kachindamoto Community Development Organization (KCDO) is a compassionate community business growing Moringa trees and producing and selling Moringa products, a nutritional supplement. The organization aims to improve food security for rural communities by enhancing soil quality and productivity through conservation and growing native trees. The work of KCDO is centered on helping poor communities gain access to nutritional and affordable products.
Kaning’ina Bee Keeping Club
Contact: Meckson Kaunda
Kaning’ina Bee Keeping Club is an enthusiastic and aspiring community group that produces and sells bottled and combed honey to address poverty and improve nutrition.
Kirk Agri-business Development
Contact: Amoni Kabuli
Kirk Agri-business Development strives to be the best and most efficient in the honey value chain in Malawi. It produces, purchases and packages pure honey from local famers across several districts, providing a high-quality and healthy sweetener.
Lucheche Cooperative Society
Contact: Daniel Mhone
Phone: +265995833181/ +265884269512
Lucheche Cooperative Society grows and sells tree leaves to local companies as the input materials for making essential oils.
Malawi Mangos Limited
Contact: Victor Mshani
Malawi Mangos Limited partners with and creates a platform for local mango producers and sellers, linking them to the market outside Salima. The company also offers technical assistance and crop protection items to community partners through its extension team. The company’s founders dream of becoming a leading company in the processing and exporting fresh dried mangos.
Contact: Rodrick Chiwoni
Manolo Honey produces and sells honey and other bee products. It strives to be an excellent honey center in Malawi.
M’bwandu Honey Producers & Marketing
Contact: Robert C Mhone
Phone: +265996598447/ +265882206412
M’bwandu Honey Producers & Marketing is a cooperative society that produces honey and provides marketing services to promote the likelihood of its members’ economic stability. It aims to secure stable income for its members whilst protecting their forests.
Mphalayi Producers & Marketing Cooperative Society Limited
Contact: Powell Nkhata
Phone: +265885 228 743
Mphalayi is a cooperative society that produces natural products, such as honey and soya, to improve the welfare of its members and increase their incomes. Securing alternative sources of income for local communities help halt deforestation, therefore growing Malawi’s environmental economy.
Moringa Plant & Plants (MPP)
Contact: Priscilla Yotamu
Phone: +265995000365/ +265882842485
MPP processes Moringa leaves into fine powder and oil, striving to become Malawi’s number one Moringa seller. Through its business model, the company also aims to provide a solution to problems such as malnutrition and financial challenges in less privileged communities.
Mtakatak Bee Keeping Cooperation
Contact: Enock Ben
Phone: +265991912650/ +265888734262
Mtakatak Bee Keeping Cooperation links honey production with forest conservation. The latter helps members increase the quality and quantity of honey while improving the livelihoods of local communities. The company aims to double the quantity of honey it produces and secure the market from bigger commercial buyers.
Mtoto Poultry & Bee Keeping Cooperation
Contact: Dorothy Mzumala
Phone: +265888 141802/ +254995 53 78 97
A cooperation founded in the north of Malawi, this business rears and sells broiler chickens and harvests and sells honey. This business model allows members to become self-reliant and food-secure while improving their livelihoods.
Nthanda Food Products
Contact: Modesta Tembo
Nthanda Food Products produces, buys and sells honey and honey products across Malawi. The company employs youth and women and partners with local producers to curb the deforestation that negatively impacts their honey business. It aims to be the first company producing and exporting honey and other bee products in Malawi.
Contact: Clemence Sande
A small business that sells honey and other bee products. Over the next five years, the company aims to expand and employ more people — particularly women and youth.
Contact: Robin Rozestraten
A company specializing in the production of Moringa and powder capsules. To ensure the sustainability of the business, Yamba Health invests in educating farmers. Moringa has multiple benefits, ranging from a soil stabilizer to a dietary supplement and as a source of income for farmers. The company ultimately hopes to reach villages elsewhere and sell nationwide and across the globe.
Empowering these Malawian entrepreneurs was made possible through the Malawi Modern Cooking for Healthy Forests Activity (MCHF), a five-year activity funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom (UK) Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO). The latter is implemented by Tetra Tech in association with five core partners: Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy (CEPA), Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT), mHub, Winrock International, and WRI.