"Malawi is a low-income, food-deficit and least developed country. The majority of its population of 15.7 million lives below the poverty line. It is ranked 153 out of 169 on the 2010 Human Development Index. Poverty is both widespread and severe with a national poverty rate of 52 percent varying across regions. About 80 percent of the people live in rural areas with low access to basic health and education services. Agricultural production is the mainstay of Malawi's economy and small-holder farmers dominate the sector. Landholdings are small particularly in the densely populated south, leading to encroachment on marginal lands and increased erosion. These conditions, combined with the high incidence of HIV/AIDS (currently estimated at 12 percent), make the poor highly vulnerable to effects of natural disasters and food insecurity."
Source: FAO Country Profile: Malawi