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Independent - Malawi's farming revolution sets the pace in Africa

A green revolution taking place in the fields of Malawi has, in three years, turned a nation that was once reliant on international aid to feed half its population into a food exporter.

In doing so, it has set an example for other developing countries struggling to feed themselves. But it has done it all against the express wishes of Britain, the United States and the World Bank - its largest donors.

Malawi suffered a catastrophic drought in 2005. The World Food Programme estimated that five million people - out of a population of 12 million - needed food aid and many villages reported people dying of starvation.

A new government, led by Bingu wa Mutharika, believed the problem was straightforward. Farmers were using seeds that were highly susceptible to disease and weevils, and too few were using fertiliser. If farmers could afford high-yield maize seeds and fertiliser, the government argued, they would be able to grow enough food. At a cost of £30m, the government launched a subsidisation scheme. With a state coupon, the price of a bag of fertiliser fell from 6,500 kwacha (£23) to 900, while a 2kg bag of hybrid maize seed dropped from 600 kwacha to 30.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 5th, 2008 at 02:39:34 PM EST

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