Malawi's economy has deep roots in the small family farms that pepper its landscape. But farmers often can't earn enough from cash crops like tobacco, sugarcane, peanuts and tea.
The Clinton Hunter Development Initiative (CHDI) hoped to change this when they started working with rural Malawian farmers in 2006. As they explain on their website, they encouraged the farmers to grow soy instead of peanuts, which is more nutritious, gets better yields, and is easier to grow.
In one particularly impoverished district, CHDI also worked with a group of local farmers to build a large commercial soy farm. Collectively, the farmers could get a better deal by buying in bulk, which drove down the price of seeds, fertilizer and irrigation tools. CHDI also used the farm as an informal classroom, showing locals how the different cultivation techniques were used.
After only two full years in the country, CHDI reports that for many farmers, harvests have more than doubled under the new system, with income not far behind. One of these farmers shares her story in the video below.
In a country as poor as Malawi, where an estimated 53 percent of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day, that extra income provides farmers with many opportunities that had previously been out of reach.