Detailed crop suitability maps and an agricultural zonation scheme for Malawi: Spatial information for agricultural planning purposes

Detailed crop suitability maps and an agricultural zonation scheme for Malawi: Spatial information for agricultural planning purposes

Todd Benson, Athur Mabiso, Flora Nankhuni
food security policy innovation lab research paper
2016

Although relatively small, Malawi is a country with significant agro-ecological diversity reflecting the diverse landforms associated with the Great Rift Valley that runs the length of the country. The effects of those landforms on soil formation processes, local climates, the distribution of water resources, and vegetation patterns results in a variety of quite complex farming systems across Malawi that farmers have developed to exploit distinct combinations of local agricultural resources.

This document describes a two-level agricultural zonation scheme to guide agricultural planning in Malawi. This scheme combines broad agricultural development domains – based upon a district-level analysis of agro-ecological potential; physical access to market; and population density – with an extensive set of detailed, more locally relevant crop suitability maps to determine where agricultural development investments might best be located within a relevant development domain.

Due to the large size of the file, we have separated out individual maps as an annex to download for your convenience. This annex contains 59 high-resolution national crop and tree species suitability maps developed from the results of the Malawi Land Resources Evaluation Project (LREP).

Download working paper text without annex maps.

Rainfed crops under improved traditional management practices

  1. Maize - long duration varieties   |   2. Maize - short duration varieties    |    3. Sorghum    |    4. Finger millet    |    5. Pearl (or bulrush) millet    |    6. Wheat    |    7. Cassava - long duration varieties    |    8. Cassava - short duration varieties     |    9. Irish potato    |    10. Common bean - long duration varieties    |    11. Common bean - short duration varieties    |    12. Cowpea    |    13. Groundnut - long duration varieties    |    14. Groundnut - short duration varieties     |    15. Soyabean    |    16. Pigeonpea    |    17. Sunflower    |    18. Tobacco - air and fired-cured    |    19. Tobacco -flue-cured    |    20. Cotton    |    21. Tea    |    22. Coffee - arabica    |    23. Citrus    |    24. Cashew

Irrigated rice under traditional management and improved traditional management

  1. Rice - wetland

Tree species

  1. Faidherbia albida    |    2. Senna siamea    |    3. Gmelina arborea    |    4. Azadirachta indica    |    5. Callitris calcarata    |    6. Callitris hugellii    |    7. Melia azedarach    |    8. Cordyla africana    |    9. Eucalyptus camaldulensis    |    10. Eucalyptus grandis    |    11. Eucalyptus maidenii    |    12. Eucalyptus tereticornis    |    13. Pinus caribaea    |    14. Pinus kesiya    |    15. Pinus oocarpa    |    16. Pinus patula

Rainfed crops under traditional management practices

  1. Maize    |    2. Sorghum    |    3. Finger millet    |    4. Pearl (or bulrush) millet    |    5. Wheat   |    6. Cassava    |    7. Sweet potato    |    8. Irish potato    |    9. Common bean    |    10. Cowpea    |    11. Groundnut    |    12. Soyabean    |    13. Pigeonpea    |    14. Guar (or cluster) bean    |    15. Sunflower    |    16. Cotton    |    17. Citrus    |    18. Cashew