Supporting food insecure families in Malawi

Mar 2013

Malawi is a small, landlocked African country suffering frequent droughts and floods. These extreme weather events damage infrastructure and housing and occasionally displace significant portions of the population. However, it is their effect on agricultural production that is most detrimental to food security.

The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee report released in October 2012 called attention to the fact that most districts particularly in the southern region of the country, were experiencing food deficits mainly due to late on-set of rains coupled with erratic rainfall pattern and prolonged dry spells.

The devaluation of the country’s currency – the Malawi Kwacha – further eroded the little resources that households had as the market prices of basic commodities spiral out of control in already affected areas. Maize prices were reported to have hit a record 6-year high.

It is against this backdrop that FAO in collaboration with the Malawi Government designed this project to provide time-critical and life-saving support in the form of agricultural inputs such as seed, fertilizers and treadle pumps and technical support. Training for project partners’ field staff, agricultural extension workers and lead farmers in good agricultural practices including conservation agriculture, crop diversification and small-scale irrigation were employed within the project cycle.

The project was able to reach 22,500 of the most vulnerable farming households in the 6 worst affected districts. It has enabled the affected families to restore their agricultural productive cycle thus allowing them to produce adequate and nutritious food for their families and sell excess to the local markets and supplement other household requirements. The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) funded the project.

Author: FAO/Malawi