Private Public Sector Partnership on Capacity Building for Sustainable Land Management in the Shire River Basin

What is the project about

Degraded land in the Shire river basinThe image shows the state of degraded land in the Shire River basin due to tree-cutting for charcoal making and bushfire. Photo: UNDP Malawi

The Private Public Sector Partnership on Capacity Building for Sustainable Land Management in the Shire River Basin Project has dual impact to improve Malawi’s power generation; and enhance the livelihoods of heavily land-dependent communities around the Shire River basin. The project aims at reducing land degradation in the Shire River Basin through improved institutional, policy and payment for ecosystem services (PES) arrangements. The basin covers over 3.1 million hectares of land and influences the livelihoods of over 5.5 million people in the southern region of Malawi. It provides over 98% of the country’s electricity, making it critically important to economy. The project is being implemented in the middle and lower Shire River Basin, particularly the four districts of Balaka, Blantyre, Mwanza and Neno where over 800,000 hectares of land is under the project, while an additional 1,000,000 hectares is being impacted by up-scaling.

The ultimate goal of the Sustainable Land Management project is to provide the basis for economic development, food security and sustainable livelihoods while restoring the ecological integrity of the River Shire Basin. 

What have we accomplished so far

So far, project activities have mostly concerned building momentum and strides are expected to be made subsequently after adequate awareness and buy-in is developed. Progress so far includes the following:

  • The Fisheries Policy and the Forestry Policy have been revised with provisions for SLM.
  • Almost 75% of technical personnel have updated their knowledge and skills in various aspects of SLM practices such as ridge alignment, gully control, manure making and conservation agriculture.
  • 75% of identified lead farmers have been trained in SLM.
  • 80 hectares are under afforestation in the four districts with different tree species including indigenous and exotic fruit trees. An additional 2,000 hectares are under naturally recovering forest patches.
  • Scale-up of best land management practices with an additional 250 hectares conserved through afforestation, conservation agriculture, ridge alignment, planting of vetiver grass and natural regeneration of trees. The adoption of conservation agriculture practices has registered yield gains, with higher yields ranging between 3.7 and 5.7 metric tons reported by farmers.
  • River bank protection and catchment conservation has been achieved with rivers that used to dry up as early as April in the past, now having water flows as late as October.
  • Adoption of fish farming with high income gains realized by farmers through fish sales (e.g. over MK150, 000 or USD435 was realized by one fish farmer group in Neno from a first catch alone)
  • Training on bee keeping for over 220 farmers (120 Female; 100 Males) as a means of income generation but also to allow communities appreciate the value of standing trees.

Who Finances it?

Only financial contributions of at least $ 100,000.00 are indicated here.

Donor Name
Amount contributed per year
  $ 739,056.00
UNDP $ 189,423.00


Delivery in previous fiscal year

Donor Name
Amount used
  $ 762,085.00
UNDP $ 172,629.00

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