Rescue the last bast palms in Malawi

View of a forest rest
View of a forest rest
Photo: Ralf Schaab

In the south of Malawi there are still small remnants of rainforest with a very rare bast palm. But because of deforestation the deserts are spreading. Naturefund now wants to reforest in a valley. Help us and plant a tree for only 6 €!

Malawi loses his forest

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and, at with 3%, they have one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. The small country is acutely threatened by desertification and the complete loss of native nature. With the forest disappears the unique biodiversity of Malawi - forever. People are also increasingly experiencing the consequences when the forest disappears. More and more they are affected by drought in the dry season and flooding in the rainy season.

In the Nantipwili river valley south of the city of Blantyre, there are still small forest remnants. Even the extremely rare bast palm (Raphia farnifera) occurs here. Also numerous rare and most endangered animal and plant species have found a last refuge here.

Monoculture and lack

But every year, this small forest rest is less, because people need wood and beat the last trees. They mostly grow corn in monoculture. Their fields often border directly on the forest and grow each year a bit further into the forest.

Since the deep-rooted trees are missing and every year in the rainy season a part of the field crust is washed away, the yields are low. In their distress, people use a lot of chemical fertilizer. But the system is in imbalance, diseases are common and so are pesticides increasingly used.

Rescue the threatened bast palm and rare species

Naturefund has therefore started a forest conservation and reforestation project in the Nantipwili river valley. Together with the local partner Ecolodgy we have helped 25 families around the Nantipwili river valley to use the dynamic agroforest farming method. With this method, they plant a variety of trees while growing their food in the same area - without fertilizer, pesticides and high yields.

In September 2017, training with 25 families took place in the Dynamic Agforst. Noemi Stadler Kaulich, one of the experts in this cultivation method was taught for a week in Nantipwili River Valley and the method Dynamic agroforestry. By the beginning of January, the parcels of the families were set up and looked after. The introduction of Dynamic Agroforest in South Malawi was promoted by the Hand in Hand Fund, Rapunzel and the German Environmental Aid.

The plots are developing very well and the demand for the new cultivation method is great. Naturefund therefore wants to continue the project and train more smallholder families in the Dynamisches Agroforst. We can use any help for that. Plant trees in Malawi with us now and help us to save the last bast palms!

Basic Data


Süd-Malawi, Thyolo District, south of the town of Blantyre in the Bvumbe community.


25 families were supported to build up a dynamic agroforestry on their land.

Special feature

In the Nantipwili river valley of about 7-8 km length and 15 minutes drive south of Blantyre (Limbe), there are still small remnants of the very rare bast palm (Raphia farnifera) and other local and endemic plants. Adjacent to the rest of the forest smallholder families mainly grow maize in monoculture. The use of chemical fertilizers and sometimes pesticides is common. The soil is haggard, yield low and due to the lack of deep-rooted trees, every year in the rainy season, part of the field soil is washed away.

For decades, the farmers were taught to grow with fertilizers and pesticides. Efficient solutions for irrigation as well as traditional means of prolonged moisturization or improvement of the soil (buried tontoons, composting, etc.) are often no longer known to today's generation. With HIV / AIDs significantly reducing the middle age class in the 1990s and 2000s, there are very few who can pass on the traditional knowledge of farming. Main crop is corn in many places, which is a starvation and leaching the soil in addition.



Care concept

The aim of the project is to train smallholder families in the method of dynamic agroforestry and to support them in implementing this method on their land.

Since 2011, Naturefund has been testing the Dynamic Agroforestry method, which results in rapid reforestation, while allowing farmers to grow their produce on the same area. The experiences in our projects in Honduras, Nicaragua and Bolivia are very positive. The first pilot areas in Madagakar, which we docked in 2015, are also developing well. We now want to spread this method in the Nantipwili Valley as well.

The project aims to help smallholder families grow a wider variety of products while planting trees, thereby promoting soil quality and plant health. At the same time, two coaches will be trained, who will support the smallholder families in the implementation in the future.

Help us to preserve the unique diversity in Malawi and plant a tree there for € 6!

  Planting Trees

Das Projekt wird unterstützt vom Hand in Hand-Fonds von Rapunzel Naturkost und der Deutschen Umwelthilfe. more

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Bastpalme rettenin Malawi

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Save the Bast Palm

Support us with the reforestation of the rainforest and the protection of the rare bast palm.

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