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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

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

Santosh Kumar Mishra
Santosh Kumar MishraPopulation Education Resource Centre (PERC), Department of Continuing and Adult Education and Extension Work, S. N. D. T. Women's University, Mumbai, IndiaIndia

What do you think are the main drivers of and obstacles to development for Malawi in the next 30 years?

  1. Drivers of development: There are three priority areas. Firstly, there need to address the poverty and inequality facing large parts of the population. Secondly, the Malawi government needs to support economic growth and wealth creation to turn the economy around and sustainably help people out of poverty. Thirdly, what is needed is good governance that will actively promote an open society.
  2. Obstacles to development: The poor are vulnerable to a host of shocks and hazards. These include droughts that come in cycles of three to five years, yearly floods and storms, and man-made hazards such as economic shocks, and HIV and AIDS. Malawi's dependence on natural resources and rain-fed agriculture makes the country particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Keeping in mind that each scenario represents an extreme future, how plausible do you think the scenarios for Malawi are? What would you like to add/change in each scenario to make it more plausible from your perspective? 

  • Malawi: Main factors contributing to food insecurity include low crop production as a result of earlier dry spells, floods, and input shortages. Secondary factors include low food stocks and unstable maize supply.

What solutions would support the drivers of the best scenario and help overcome obstacles encountered on the way? How about overcoming the challenges of the worst scenarios? (common to the 3 countries)

Feeding the world in an equitable and sustainable manner must involve food production and the food system assuming a much higher priority in political agendas across the world. Shaping the debate around issues like jobs, economic development and public health rather than about “joint sacrifice” would be most effective. Government departments around the world should consider moving responsibility for water, food and energy into one department to improve effectiveness.

What are the key first steps needed to get a change process in motion, and who needs to be involved?(common to the 3 countries)

There is a growing sense of urgency in establishing an effective and democratic agricultural system, which has in turn slowly given way to the emergence of various social movements and initiatives (such as the IPC) that highlight the importance of creating self-reliant local food systems. Food sovereignty is widely recognized as the right of all individuals to define their own agricultural policies, policies that are socially and economically appropriate in ensuring people’s physical and emotional well-being. This includes the right to food and the right to produce the food that’s necessary to sustain a society. For food security to be existent, it is paramount to ensure physical and economic access to a variety of food products that meet the dietary needs for a healthy living. There is need:

  1. to ensure adequate food supplies both at the national and local level,
  2. to create a reasonable degree of stability in the supply food network, and
  3. to ensure the ability of households to physically and economically access the food that is required.