Title: Factors affecting the survival of agroforestry trees in Malawi

Author(s): Setrida Mlamba
Final project
Year of publication:
agroforestry, Malawi,


The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, non-governmental organisations and donor-funded projects have been promoting tree planting in Malawi for several years. Despite these efforts, it is difficult to trace the out-planted seedlings after a year or more due to the low survival rate. Socio-economic research studies have only addressed factors affecting adoption of agroforestry among farmers and little is known about why the survival of planted seedlings is low. This study was conducted to understand the factors that affect the survival of agroforestry trees in Malawi. The study was carried out in the Lilongwe District. It is one of the many places in Malawi where agroforestry is being promoted. Data was collected from a sample of selected farmers through the administration of a questionnaire. The questionnaire comprised closed- and openended questions which were developed by the researcher based on personal knowledge of the field and work expertise. Farmer contact with the extension worker was found to have a significant positive correlation with the survival of agroforestry trees. Planting with the first rains, protecting the seedlings from livestock, and planting mature and healthy seedlings were found to be the main mechanisms the farmers used to improve the survival of trees. Destruction by livestock, attack by termites and dry spells were major challenges affecting the survival of the seedlings. The need for formulation of by-laws on animals to control damage and encouragement of farmers to plant trees with the first rains to reduce the loss caused by the dry spell were some of the study recommendations. Considering that farmer contact with the extension worker had a positive relationship with the survival of agroforestry trees it is important the government recruits more extension staff and provides mobility to increase contact with farmers. The study needs to be replicated in other areas as farmers in other areas operate under different socio-economic and ecological conditions.

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