Malawi registered significant growth in GDP between 2003 and 2010. Despite this growth the budgetary allocation to the environment sector remained low, while the agriculture and livestock sectors continued to receive a large share of the budget. While the growth in agriculture resulted in significant reductions in the incidences of poverty, there was an increase in environmental degradation, including high rates of deforestation, depletion of fisheries and soil erosion. The country’s high population density of 139 persons per square kilometre, coupled with a high population growth rate of 2.9 per cent, continued to exert pressure on the natural resources resulting in greater demand for fuelwood, water, electricity and land for agriculture and settlements. The government’s ambition to a maintain an annual growth of 6 per cent in agriculture, is attributed to the greater use of inorganic fertilizers, the conversion of forests and wetlands into farmland, and the extensive use of water for irrigation. Fish catch and fish sizes continue to decline, although the country remains the most diverse in fish biodiversity with about 14 per cent of the world’s freshwater fish species.