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Soil loss assessment in Malawi











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    Soil and nutrients loss in Malawi: an economic assessment 2018
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    Soil loss is a major threat to agricultural development in Malawi, and the size of the agricultural sector in the Malawian economy renders it a major limitation to the overall economic development of the country. Soil loss reduces cultivable soil depth, but also takes away fertile soils from farmlands. The net effect is a loss of agricultural productivity, increased expenditure on fertilizers, and a general decline in profitability of crop production. The aim of the project is to analyse the economic impact of both soil and nutrient loss in Malawi with new country-representative data on soil loss and nutrient indicators collected through field surveys, merged with detailed climatic data and socio-economic information. It translates soil loss/nutrient loss into yield loss and estimates the economic impact of loss on agricultural production as a result of soil degradation and then, it identifies best practices to mitigate the soil loss phenomenon.
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    Soil nutrient loss assessment in Malawi, Technical report 2018
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    Soil loss is a major threat to agricultural development in Malawi, and the size of the agricultural sector in the Malawian economy renders it a major limitation to the overall economic development of the country. Soil loss reduces cultivable soil depth, but also takes away fertile soils from farmlands. The net effect is a loss of agricultural productivity, increased expenditure on fertilizers, and a general decline in profitability of crop production. The study aimed to assess soil nutrient dynamics in Malawi for informing economic assessment of soil loss in the country. In order to assess changes in soil nutrient levels, the study reviewed past and present literature as well as soil data, and compared their results with those that were generated during the study.
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    Soil loss atlas of Malawi 2019
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    With over three-quarters of the country’s soils at risk, soil loss in Malawi represents a major threat to food security and nutrition, agricultural growth, the provision of ecosystem services and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since the Malawian economy is highly dependent on agriculture, soil loss is a significant hindrance to the overall economic development of the country. The Soil Loss Atlas of Malawi is part of an effort of the Government of Malawi (GoM) and its development partners to determine the major contributing factors to soil loss in Malawi and the most effective approaches to control it. This publication addresses the urgent need for updated data and information on soil loss rates in Malawi, which have not been reviewed since 1992. Furthermore, since soil loss is one of the monitoring indicators in the Agricultural Sector Wide Approach Program (ASWAp) adopted by the GoM and its development partners, there is also a need to develop a baseline soil loss rate to help with program indicator monitoring. Soil erosion is a natural or human-driven process where the top layers of soil are removed from their original location. In the context of agriculture, soil loss occurs when natural soil erosion is accelerated so that the soil is blown or washed away by agents such as water, wind and tillage. Soil loss is fuelled by agents of erosion (such as wind, runoff, gravity, etc.) and further influenced by factors such as unsustainable soil management, land use/cover management, topography, and soil type. Some of these factors are often (in)directly modified by human activities in ways that can increase or slow down the rate of soil loss process. The Soil Loss Atlas of Malawi builds a comprehensive picture of soils in the country by examining different types of soil loss and their drivers across the 27 districts of Malawi. The publication captures information on soil types, land cover and land use types, topography, mean annual rainfall, soil loss rates and soil nutrient loss rates. All of this data is mapped by district through photographic evidence, graphs and maps which effectively illustrate the scale and range of soil loss across the country. The Atlas also provides an overview of the topsoil loss trends between 2000 and 2014. The overall approach used for the development of this Atlas was the combination of modelling using the Soil Loss Estimation Model for Southern Africa (SLEMSA) model and validation by field measurements. The model provides a dynamic approach for estimating national topsoil loss using secondary data, development of a footprint history of topsoil loss rates in the past ten years, identification of potential drivers of soil loss in the country and capacity development of local staff to implement future soil loss assessment activities. The Soil Loss Atlas of Malawi is a useful resource for a variety of stakeholders including researchers, scientists, decision-makers, land managers, students and the general public. The publication provides a baseline for future monitoring of soil loss rates and trends in the country. It delivers key data and evidence which can inform targeted decision-making to tackle the issue of soil loss in Malawi.

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