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These graphs show that over time the production of level of maize in Malawi as well as the area

of maize farmed have remained rather stable. However the production of roots and tubers (primarily
cassava) has grown in recent years, at a far greater rate the Mozambique, geographical neighbor of
Malawi. The area of land farmed for vegetables and melons has also remained stable over time.
Looking at the raw production of maize compared to root and tuber as well as vegetables and
melons you can see that Malawi and its Mozambique produce more maize than anything else. This puts
maize as a the main crop of Malawi and Mozambique. This is supported by the overall impression
given by the narrative of William Kamkwamba as well as the the reports of bloggers in Malawi.
However recently it appears that the production of roots and tubers has started to rival the production of

Now seeing the relative production of maize to other crops, Malawi's reliance on maize is
apparent. Considering the fact that a large number of Malawians practice subsistence farming
according to articles on the website Our Africa and the New Agriculturist this data implies that food
diversity in Malawi is not very high. This is backed up by an article entitled "Seasonal food
consumption patterns and dietary diversity of rural preschool Ghanaian and Malawian children" which
found that Malawian children had significantly less food diversity than Ghanaian children who in turn
had far less than children in "developed" countries. As lack of food diversity is terrible for peoples
health (you don't get enough micronutrients and usually miss out on some significant nutrients in your
diet) this is a critical issue.
What is interesting when you compare the area of maize farmed with the production produced
you can see that there is about a 1 to 3 ratio between the hectares of maize farmed and the tonnes of
maize produced. This is a very poor yield per hectare. To see this compare the approximate yield per
hectare of roots and tubers. From looking at the graphs for production of roots and tubers and area of
roots and tubers farmed I obtain the approximate yield per hectare at somewhere between 40 - 50
tonnes per hectare. From this you can see how poor of a crop maize is for Malawian farmer.
Apparently according to some Malawian bloggers blogs I was reading the reason that Malawi
still farms so much maize in spite of its poor yields is for three reasons. One, maize is deeply
entrenched in the culture of Malawi. Secondly, maize was a prosperous crop with high yields when it
was originally brought to Malawi from South Africa and its only due to recent changes in climate due
to "global warming" that maize has become unsuccessful. So people are reluctant to change when they
can still remember when maize grew well, especially coupled with the Malawian culture surrounding
maize. And finally the government heavily pushes for maize crops in Malawi, for reasons I don't fully
understand as of yet. Though I suspect corruption might be one factor.


"Food and Daily Life." Our Africa. Web. <>.

Zeleza Manda, Levi, and Gladson Makowa. "Country Profile - Malawi." New Agriculturist. 1
Mar. 2012. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <>.

Ferguson, Elaine, Rosalind Gibson, Clara OpareObisaw, Frema OseiOpare, Christine Lamba,
and Stephanie Ounpuu. "Seasonal Food Consumption Patterns and Dietary Diversity of Rural
Preschool Ghanaian and Malawian Children." Ecology of Food and Nutrition 29.3 (1992): 21934. Web.