Landscape Story

The socio-ecological production landscape identified as the target area for the Community Development and Knowledge Management for the Satoyama Initiative Project (COMDEKS) in Malawi is the Tukombo-Kande region. The target landscape is approximately 27,000 ha, and covers three Traditional Authority (TA) areas: Zilakoma, Malengamzoma, and Fukamapiri. The Dwambazi River forms the lower boundary, while the Northern part of the strip goes up to the Kande Trading Centre in Northern Malawi.

The Tukombo-Kande region is a scenic area composed of mountain ranges on the eastern stretch (with columns of both protected and customary forests), cascading down into customary farmland and settlements areas. Wetland areas along the shores of Lake Malawi are rich in biodiversity, and support a number of fishing activities. Tukombo-Kande  has been selected as the target landscape due to the potential for integration of fishing and farming communities with the rich Tonga (ethnic tribe) culture. The combination of biodiversity protection activities and trade center development show potential for successful projects in this region.

Biological Impact

The climate of the target landscape is fairly humid, with average monthly temperatures ranging between 20-28°C. The temperatures are however modified by lake breezes along the shore of Lake Malawi. The area has two very important forest reserves: Kuwirwe and Chisasira. The forests are habitats for different wildlife such as birds, rodents, warthogs, monkeys, hyenas, and antelopes. Wetlands are dominated by Ficus sycomorus, Syzygium cordatum, kamphalasa, mtatu and mgoza plants, and a variety of wildlife including many fish species. The most common fish is Engarulicypris sadella (usipa), which is processed and sold at fish landing sites.

Dependence upon the environment is crucial for landscape residents livelihoods. Tree and shrub species from the forests are used for firewood, medicinal uses, construction of canoes, and rafters for fish processing. Agricultural land is vast, with many different types of produce including maize and cereals. The dominant crops in terms of land allocation are cassava, maize, groundnuts, sweetpotato, rice, bananas and beans

Socio-economic Impact

According to the 2007/08 enumeration, the Tukombo-Kande area has a population of 58,260 people with over 11,200 farming families representing 27% of the total farming families present in Nkhata Bay District. The major sources of livelihood support for the Tukombo-Kande area are based on agriculture, fishing and small scale businesses. Less than 1% of total household income comes from formal sector employment. Agriculture is largely a female dominated occupation since male members consider fishing as more commercially attractive. Many agricultural products such as cassava and sweet potato are traded locally, but are not properly integrated into the urban markets. Commodity prices are extremely low at the peak of season due to high supply which does not match the available demand.

The major ethnic groups in the area are Tongas (64%) and Tumbukas (33%), as well as tribes of Nkhonde, Chewa, Lomwe and Ngoni. The inhabitants have deep cultural traditions that have been used in the protection of biodiversity.

Baseline Assessment

In September 2012, a grant has been awarded to Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bunda College in Malawi in order to conduct the landscape-wide baseline assessment of the Socio-Ecological Production Landscape (SEPL) of the target area. The baseline assessment and community consultation workshop, aimed at piloting the SEPLs indicators, was conducted in October 2012 to assess the overall performance of the target landscape.

Community consultation workshops were conducted in eight villages and four Traditional Areas (TAs) in order to identify indicators for resilience in the Socio-ecological Production Landscape. Stakeholders such as forest officers, farmers, and NGO representatives were engaged in the design of the COMDEKS Country Programme Landscape Strategy.

Landscape Strategy

The overall long-term objective of the COMDEKS Landscape Strategy is to enhance socio-ecological production landscape resilience through community-based activities. The COMDEKS Country program in Malawi seeks to achieve the following outcomes:

a)     Diversified livelihood resources and improved welfare of the landscape, through the development of community-based ecotourism, and other alternative livelihood activities to broaden the household income base

b)      Conservation of natural woodlands, Village Forest areas and other habitats such as sacred groves, watershed, and aquatic habitat

c)      Implementation of agricultural practices such as agroforestry, crop diversification, conservation agriculture, value addition and processing of produce

d)      Establishment of community-based institutional governance structures.

Country Project

The COMDEKS project seeks to bring about community development, learning, and knowledge sharing by making available small grants to community organizations to help them maintain and manage more resilient socio-ecological production landscapes. The types of community projects that will be funded to achieve socio-ecological production landscape resilience must address more than one landscape outcome and should be inter-sectorial, innovative, sustainable and replicable by nature.

Projects are expected to result in sustainable agricultural practices, increased ecosystem resilience, and improved access to credit. The potential projects for funding include those that promote biodiversity conservation, crop diversification, livestock production, bee keeping, value addition and agro-processing, irrigation farming, aquaculture, and adoption of soil, water and energy saving technologies. Projects that aim to improve governance structures for community based organizations (CBOs), village natural resources management committees (VNRMCs), and other community associations will also be supported.

Examples of eligible projects include restoration of wetland areas, establishment of seed banks, and promotion of initiatives for crop diversification.

New! COMDEKS Country Programme Landscape Strategy for Malawi can be downloaded here.


Natural Resources Management in Tukombo-Kande, Malawi

Project Contact

Mr. Alex Damaliphetsa
National Coordinator
Phone: +265 1 773 500
Fax: +265 1 773 637

Ms. Nyembezi JENDA
Programme Assistant
Phone:+ 265 1 773 500
Fax:+265 1 773 637

Zowe House, Area 40, c/o UNDP Malawi, P.O. Box 30135 , LILONGWE 3 , Africa