Beach field

Above: Surviving as a subsistence farmer is tough work at the best of times, but hopes where high for a good harvest following seasonal rains. Unfortunately the river broke its banks and dumped tons of sand on Andrew's maize field destroying his crop. With no equipment available to easily remove the unwanted layer, he had to dig down through the sand using a spade, and finally his hands, to reach fertile soil in which to plant his next crop.

It seems that no matter how hard the poor work, the odds are always stacked against them. The land they work is often the most vulnerable to disruption, leaving farmers struggling to make up for lost harvests when things go wrong.

Fombe Village, Chikwawa district, Malawi.

Below: Better times. Andrew and his family.