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 is losing its forest

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and at the same time has one of the highest deforestation rates (3%). The small country is acutely threatened by desertification and the complete loss of its native nature. With the forest the unique biodiversity of Malawi disappears - forever. People also feel the consequences when the forest disappears. The Nantipwili river valley south of the city of Blantyre still has small remnants of forest. Even the extremely rare raffia palm (Raphia farnifera) can still be found here.

Monoculture and scarcity

Every year the small remnants of the forest in the Nantipwili River Valley decrease as people need wood and cut down the last trees. In agriculture, maize is mainly grown in monoculture. The corn fields often border directly on the forest, which is pushed back a little further every year, but when the deep-rooted trees are missing, the rain washes away some of the topsoil and the meagre yields become even lower. In their misery people then use a lot of chemical fertilizers. It's a vicious circle. The entire natural system is in imbalance, the plants are getting sick more often, so that pesticides are being used more and more often.

Saving the endangered bast palm and rare species

Naturefund has therefore launched a pilot project in the Nantipwili river valley in 2017. Together with local partners Renew'N'Able Malawi and ecoLODGy, we supported 20 families around the Nantipwili River Valley in using the dynamic agroforestry cultivation method. Using this method, they plant a large number of trees while at the same time growing their food on the same area - without fertilisers, without pesticides and with high yields.the first training course took place in September 2017. Noemi Stadler-Kaulich, one of the experts in this cultivation method, travelled from Bolivia to the Nantipwili river valley for a week and showed the people how they can use the principles of dynamic agroforestry to create a healthy plant system and strengthen soil fertility. After only a few months it became apparent how well this approach also works in Malawi: The plants grew vigorously and were healthy, the families had a good yield, while at the same time the planted trees and bushes "held" the soil crumb

Second project phase starts in 2018 in five villages

Caused by this success, curiosity in the surrounding villages increased and more and more were interested to learn the method as well. Therefore we started the second phase in September 2018. This time we selected five villages which are located around the Nantipwili river valley and its tributaries. The villages of Khombaniwa, Machemba and Bernard border directly on the Nantipwili river valley. Khombaniwa is also close to the village of Sumbuleta, where the majority of the first group from 2017 lives. The other two villages are Chiwaya and William, which are both located on a tributary river, and the crowds were so great that our capacities were not sufficient and we had to decide together with the village leaders who should participate in the training. From each village, four people were to be selected, whose fields were located near the river and who showed a willingness to learn and a spirit of innovation. They should also have the ability to communicate the principles of Dynamic Agroforestry to the other villagers. The choice was not easy, but in the end a lively group was created with a share of 75% women and 25% men.

Deutsche Umwelthilfe and the Hand-in-Hand-Fonds already supported the first pilot project in 2017 and are also participating this time with a generous donation. Many godfathers and godmothers are also involved and help us to save the nature in the valley of the bast palms. Plant a tree there for only 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

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