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Hutton work in Malawi

The James Hutton Institute (and its predecessors the Scottish Crop Research Institute and Macaulay Land Use Research Institute) have a long history of working to aid nations in the developing world, and Malawi has been a prime example of close Scotland-Malawi links. Work in Malawi has focussed on helping Malawians achieve a more sustainable future.

What Who Summary and link Topics When (current or in the past)


Kerry Waylen 

The James Hutton Institute helps to support effective and equitable water management that will be sustainable in the long-term (and in the face of climate change), through its role in supporting a VSO-led project called “"MAJI" (More Action for Just Initiatives for Climate Change Adaptation in Southern Africa). 

The James Hutton Institute’s role was to contribute its expertise in participatory scenario-planning methods that allow communities to share and build understanding of how future change will affect socio-ecological systems. This project involved work across the districts of Karonga, Salima and Dowa, working with both district governments and Village Natural Resource Management Committees (VNRMCs).

One-day training and discussion event (Edinburgh, Scotland)




Kerry Waylen 

The James Hutton Institute helped to support effective and equitable water management, through its role in supporting a VSO-led project called “WATERS” (Water Futures: Towards Equitable Resource Management Strategies). 

The WATERS project was focused on supporting local government and communities plan for future natural resource management in the face of climate change. It worked in four districts of Malawi that are particularly vulnerable to droughts and floods.

Natural resource management; climate change 


Quikgro: developing potato varieties suited to sub-Saharan conditions 

Lesley Torrance 

Researchers hope Quikgro potatoes will produce tubers that bulk quickly in warmer environments, mitigating the effect of short rainy seasons and droughts, with enhanced disease resistance and a better rotation fit with other crops such as rice and wheat. 

The Quikgro initiative is a collaboration between the University of St Andrews, James Hutton Institute, the International Potato Center (CIP), Malawi’s Department of Agricultural Research Services (DARS) and Kenya’s Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST). It is funded by a Global Challenges Research Fund Foundation award from Research Councils UK (RCUK).

Food security  


Strengthening Potato Production in Malawi 

Lesley Torrance 

In collaboration with DARS, CIP and SASA, Edinburgh we delivered a training course in seed potato crop inspection, disease identification, and diagnostic in Dedza District of Malawi, 13–16 March 2012. Lesley Torrance and two senior potato seed inspectors (John Ellicott and Maureen McCreath) travelled from Scotland to Malawi for the training. The course had 37 trainees from different organisations in Malawi involved in seed quality control, seed production, or in backstopping farmers.

Food security 


Fortune Gomo’s PhD 

Kit Macleod 

Towards supporting cohesive decision making across water, energy and food through understanding challenges in Malawi 

Fortune Gomo (University of Dundee, James Hutton Institute, and SRUC) 

This study contributes to the understanding of the intersectoral and cross-scale challenges and interactions of the water, energy and food (agricultural) sectors in the Zambezi river basin, particularly, in Malawi. National level policy stakeholder engagement highlighted the key water, energy and food (WEF) (agricultural) challenges at a national level. Catchment level water footprint analysis was carried out to assess the implications of the National Irrigation Policy (2015) for Malawi’s water resources, which aims to increase area under irrigation from 104 000ha in 2015 to 220 000ha in 2035. Local level stakeholder engagement involved smallholder farmers from Karonga, Salima and Machinga. This was aimed at understanding the smallholder farmer perspectives, and the local level WEF challenges in Malawi.

Water; Food security; Natural resource management; Climate change 


Africa SOIL: Soil Organic matter Improves Livelihoods 

Eric Paterson 

Smallholder systems, dependent on degraded soil of low fertility, are particularly vulnerable and lead to abject poverty. Maize is the single most important crop for more than 160 million people in eastern and southern Africa, occupying between 50-90% of the cultivated land area (over 17 million hectares, excluding South Africa), with a total production of 31 million tonnes. 

Our aim is to provide a solution to this problem by empowering smallholder farmers with the knowledge and tools to replenish and utilise nutrients in soil more efficiently. Specifically, this will involve coupling conservation agriculture practices with selection of maize varieties best able to source nitrogen from soil organic matter.  

Firstly, we will translate and build on our existing knowledge of abilities of different maize varieties to source nutrients from organic matter through establishment of demonstration and trial sites across an existing network of smallholder farms in NE Zimbabwe and S Malawi.

Soil; Food Security; Climate change 




Areas of Interest

Printed from /research/international/malawi on 21/02/24 07:54:06 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.