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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: The future of food security and climate change in Malawi

Leslie Lipper

General comments

Reading these inputs in addition to the outputs from the first scenario workshop is really quite illuminating and helpful in getting the big picture of the problems and challenges facing each of the three countries. 

One of our biggest concerns in the EPIC team is developing climate smart agricultural investment plans that can generate effective and needed change in each country.  To do that we are focussing on identifying key “delivery mechanisms” that need to be supported- and this dialogue is very relevant to identifying what those might look like.   For example, I’ve been struck by comments for all three countries about the importance of educating and engaging young people as a key means of strengthening current and future capacity to effect change.  Likewise, the importance of addressing and reversing natural resource degradation and depletion has come up in the dialogue for all three countries – although here it is less clear what actions are likely to be feasible and effective.  We also see that in all three countries there is considerable concern about increasing the effectiveness of institutions to support change – but there are considerable differences in what might be the best solution here.

Comments on Malawi

For Malawi, a very strong emphasis on youth education, addressing health issues and lack of capacity to implement good policies emerges from the comments.    There was also a call for advocacy and education around climate change issues at both national and local levels. The idea of setting up local level training centres built upon the Young Pioneers program I thought very interesting and I would like to explore that idea more. In thinking through  how best to support implementation capacity in Malawi it is not clear to me how much emphasis should be given to civil society (e.g. using NGOs as the main implementing agents) versus building up government capacity to operate at local levels (e.g. providing support for local level government extension/training/input supply).  This is a question I think we need to explore further.

A final issue arising from the responses to the dialogue for building the country CSA investment proposals is the importance of considering that there can be alternative futures in each country and that will have a big impact on the effectiveness of the CSA work.   The question is then to structure the CSA investments so it can be effective under very different futures in the country – but that of course is very tricky!  One thing I think likely to be effective under any plausible future is strong emphasis on youth education and training and so this should be given some emphasis in the proposals.  In Malawi it is also clear that health and nutrition issues are likely to be important under any future scenario.   Improving market governance and positive participation of the private sector seems a key issue in all countries as well, but of course this is more difficult to address through the channel of a CSA investment proposal.   However, while I think we have to be realistic about the role the CSA work and investment proposals can actually play in having a positive impact on larger issues of national development, we do need to think very carefully about the leverage the project and investments could have in promoting desirable future scenarios and be creative in building implementation structures that actually contribute to larger public goods such as effective market governance.  Having more specific feedback on how to do that in Malawi would be most useful as we move ahead in the CSA project.