How to Make Mbeya Fertilizer

Orant Training on Mbeya Fertilizer Making

Agriculture is the backbone of Malawi’s economy. It accounts for 30% of GDP and generates over 80% of national export earnings. The agriculture sector employs 64% of the country’s workforce. And of course, it contributes to food and nutrition security.

However, with the rising cost of farming inputs, the agriculture sector is threatened. Most farmers can’t afford the high costs.

What is the impact of high costs?

Most farmers have decided to use low quality inputs. This minimizes their yields. Others have resorted to not grow anything in the 2022/2023 farming season.

“I only farm for my daily survival,” says Catherine Manjawira, one of Orant’s Agriculture Program Participants. “My life solely depends on farming. Because of last farming season’s rains, I didn’t harvest enough. As a result, I don’t have enough money to buy a bag of fertilizer.”

What is the solution?

Last week, Orant’s Agriculture Program organized a Fertilizer Making Training. Through the Madisi Extension Planning Area, we trained a total of 89 farmers.  

What is Mbeya Fertilizer?

Mbeya Fertilizer is rich in the nutrients needed to improve and maintain soil structure, texture, color, depth, aeration, and fertility.

“It’s easy to make. It uses locally available resources,” says Samuel Suluveliyo, Madisi Agriculture Extension Development Officer. “By using Mbeya Fertilizer and all the necessary farming techniques, one will harvest between 50 to 80 kilogram bags of maize on an acre field.”

The training has given farmers hope.

“I will follow all the procedures,” says Catherine. “I  am anticipating a great harvest at minimal cost.”

How to Make Mbeya Fertilizer

Materials for Mbeya Fertilizer Making


  • 20kgs madeya (maize bran)
    •10 kgs phulusa (ash)
    • 20kgs ndowe (animal manure)
    • 10 kgs of fertilizer – either for basal or top dressing
    • 5 litres madzi (water)
    • 1 thumba lachipepala mkatia (sack that has plastic bag inside)
    • 1 shovel
    • 1 clean sheet for mixing


  • Divide the above materials into three portions 
  • Mix the ingredients slowly until they are all fine (mixed well) 
  • Combine into one bag
  • Tie the bag with a string. Put it in an aerated place for 21 days. 
  • After 21 days, it’s ready to be used! 


  • Cattle manure is not suitable. It takes too long to ferment and is light in weight. 
  • Make sure that non-breakable dungs like that of goats are pounded before mixed with other materials. This helps with fermentation. 

Fun Facts: 

  • Madeya helps in fast and quick fermentation of mixture
  • Ndowe attracts bacteria to ferment the mixture
  • Ash contains sulphur, which prohibits the growth of striga asiatica (witch weed) 

The Orant Journal