Coffee and Cooperatives in Malawi

In Malawi, there are six main cooperatives that serve between 3,000 and 4,000 farmers. Together, in 1999 the cooperatives formed Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union. There is not central auction system and no government requirements on sales, so farmers are left to export their coffee themselves. Most farmers sell their coffee through the Mzuzu Cooperative Union.

Recent pilot projects in Malawi have often focused on increasing sustainability of smallholder coffee farms. These projects include using organic fertilizers such as manure, utilizing nitrogen fixing plants such a beans to improve soil health and fertility and inter-cropping banana grasses to provide shade for coffee trees and fodder for animals.

The biggest challenge for the national coffee sector remains the poor infrastructure and plants with low resistance to diseases.