Permaculture Combats Malnutrition in Malawi

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Recognizing that low-cost improvements to family farms could increase household food security in Malawi, the Kusamala Institute of Agriculture and Ecology implemented the Red Soil Project to create “local farmer networks that share strategy, knowledge and resources around permaculture practices.”

Permaculture is a design-based agriculture practice that mimics natural processes to maximize production and minimize labor. It is based on three principals of caring for the earth, caring for people and only taking a sustainable share of produce. In Malawi, households using permaculture access to nutritious produce year round, and rank higher than conventional farmers in food access, diet diversity, and nutritional intake.

With 15 percent of the global population malnourished, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) says that permaculture can is a viable solution for reducing food security in vulnerable regions. In light of this trend, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) also uses permaculture to empower children affected HIV and combat public health issues such as vitamin A deficiency.

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