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Andrew Namakhoma: Agricultural Challenges and Opportunities in Malawi
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Andrew Namakhoma: Agricultural Challenges and Opportunities in Malawi


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21st September 2011 …

21st September 2011
GCL Event: Agriculture, Food Security and Water Access

Published in: Technology

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  • 1. Addressing Food Security ChallengesThe experience of Smallholder Farmers in Malawi Andrew Namakhoma (Community Development Programmes Officer)
  • 2. Addressing Food Security Challenges What is NASFAM ?• Malawi’s largest smallholder Farmers’ Organisation• 108,000 individual registered members in 43 Associations• Has physical presence in 19 out of 29 Districts in the country• Promotes production and marketing of cash crops, including chillies, groundnuts, cotton, rice, soya, paprika, & beans• Acts as a voice for smallholders in the country• NASFAM is a member of the Southern Africa Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) and the international Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP).
  • 3. Addressing Food Security Challenges A Typical NASFAM Member ... owns 1 to 2 ha of land willing to put training into practice cultivates less than 1 ha of land ready to change their production is 60% for food, own lives 40% cash crops self-motivated looks after 5 or 6 dependants 2 or 3 dependants go to schoolbasic tool is hoewilling to pay a small has received only junior primary educationmembership fee to supportthe Association on joining: - not conversant with best farming practice, - requires on site, simplified training on agricultural production can be male of female - does not have capital assets like treadle pumps, ploughs, etc - has 2 to 3 room hut of mud construction and grass thatch roof
  • 4. Addressing Food Security Challenges Agriculture in MalawiAgricultural sector:• Single most important sector in the country contributing; • 85% of the labour force, • 35% of GDP • 90% of foreign export earnings • 65% of raw material for industry• Is divided into two sectors:- • Smallholder – mainly subsistence production • Estate- mainly commercial production• Land holding is a major issue – population density 92/sq. km 4
  • 5. Addressing Food Security Challenges Food security defined• Food security exists when people have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food at all times to meet their dietary needs for an active and healthy life.• Food security not equal to own and/or local food production• Income security equals food security if and when markets work
  • 6. Addressing Food Security Challenges Food Situation in Malawi• Key Food Security Food Dietary Cotribution Crops – Maize as a staple food – Rice, Beans, Maize Rice Cassava, Sweet Cassava/Sweet Potato Sorghum/Millet Potatoes, Groundnuts, Sorghum, Millet
  • 7. Addressing Food Security Challenges Food Security Challenges in Malawi• Insufficient resources to acquire food on the market – 60% of the economy live on less than $1/day• Insufficient and poor infrastructure to support food markets. – (information, distribution and storage) • Low average productivity for maize -0.8 to 1.3 Mt/hectare for Smallholder farmers
  • 8. Addressing Food Security Challenges Smallholder Farmers• 70 % of Malawi population• Has average land holding size of 0.2 ha.• Majority live below poverty line, less than $1 per day• Often runs out of food very often• Highly illiterate• Social and economic hardship
  • 9. Addressing Food Security Challenges Major Smallholder Farmer Challenges• Lack of resources• Increasing cost of production• Illiteracy level• Unstable produce prices/ input prices• Poor infrastructure• Unreliable produce markets• Depend on rain fed agriculture• Lack of access to value addingtechnologies
  • 10. Addressing Food Security ChallengesSmallholder Farmers & Food Security– Generally, Malawi moved from a nationally self- sufficient maize producer in non-drought years to dependence on commercial food imports and foreign assistance to achieve a national food balance– In 2000, only 5% of the SHFs produced maize to last whole year (Sibale et al, 2001).– average maize deficit amongst SHF is ~ 4.5 months and in poor harvest years this can go up to over 6 months.
  • 11. Addressing Food Security Challenges How did we get here• Natural factors- droughts, floods, pest and disease outbreaks – Droughts becoming a frequent occurrence – Climate change (diseases,• High population growth rate – GDP growth must be more than population growth – Pressure on available land – Deforestation (environmental hazards)• Policy errors and/or disjointed policies – – Subsidising tobacco production and encouraging diversification from tobacco• Need to resolve short term emergencies at the expense of LT solutions – How much emergency aid has Malawi received? What is the impact?
  • 12. Addressing Food Security Challenges Addressing Food Security Challenges• 2002 hunger- wake up call• An integrated approach to resolving food insecurity challenges (due to multiple causes)• A combination of short and long term strategies -Irrigation -Crop diversification -Food Utilization -Village Grain Banks
  • 13. Addressing Food Security Challenges Grain Banks• Buying of maize @ harvest• Maize is the sold @ affordable prices in times of scarcity• Grain banks are within villages• Farmer-led and farmer driven initiative.
  • 14. Addressing Food Security Challenges Drought tolerant crops• Promote Sweet Potato & Cassava production• Establish multiplication sites• Cassava for food (tubers); relish (leaves); Cuttings (planting materials); income earner (sale of tubers & cutting)
  • 15. Addressing Food Security Challenges Irrigation• Specifically Drip Irrigation• Though expensive ensures farmers save labor & time• Ensures proper utilization of the scarce water resource
  • 16. Addressing Food Security Challenges Addressing Food Security Challenges• An integrated approach to resolving food insecurity challenges (due to multiple causes) – Synergies and contradictions between policies• Reliable data to inform policies – not ‘it works in Zambia’ syndrome – Need to understand local/national dynamics but also not reinventing the wheel
  • 17. Addressing Food Security Challenges Strategies for impact• Invest in efforts to increase both food and cash crop productivity – Integrated agriculture – legumes in addition to improving nutrition improve soil fertility – Integrated livestock and crops production • Improved animal production – help nutrition and can absorb ‘useless’ crop production• Adoption of appropriate technology – Farm mechanisation (e.g. SHF tractor hire scheme for better ploughing) – Improved crop varieties
  • 18. Addressing Food Security Challenges Increasing productivity• Investment in practical agricultural research – Linkage between research, government, NGOs and farmers - Land grant universities – research in crop production diversification (where you have comparative advantage due to soil types, composition, weather, etc) – Extension in proven technology
  • 19. Addressing Food Security Challenges Investment in Irrigation• Irrigation – Malawi’s agriculture remains susceptible to effects of drought because it’s almost entirely rain-fed. – Supplementary irrigation, Second crop production• Irrigation to concentrate on water reservoirs and water harvesting – E.g Treadle pump irrigation – very labour intensive, only work in limited areas close to water sources, irrigate 0.3 ha
  • 20. Addressing Food Security Challenges Irrigation development• Malawi potential for irrigation – 400,000 ha; – 62 000 ha. developed – Of this, 14 000 ha. is SH (Dept. of Irrigation)• reuse irrigation water by employing irrigation return systems
  • 21. Addressing Food Security Challenges ConclusionsTo maximise positive impact…• Interventions must look at synergies and avoid contradictions• Must focus on increasing productivity of both food and cash crops (the role of income security in food security)• Invest in agricultural research and extension for increased productivity• ST strategies to be limited to the minority of the population and invest more in LT strategies with possibilities of spill-over to the poorest
  • 22. Addressing Food Security Challenges Conclusions cont• Subsidies well targeted and timed• Private sector must be fully involved in any intervention – help markets work• Integrated agric (livestock and crops to support each other)
  • 23. Addressing Food Security Challenges NASFAM in Scotland• NASFAM has some links with Scotland through groups such as Just Trading under Fairly Traded initiative which supports farmers through farmer Organizations.• In 2010 Just Trading procured 38Mt of NASFAM rice which they supplied to schools, Universities, Church groups.• Just Trading also linked NASFAM to IMANI Developments—the managers of Scotland-Malawi Trade Partnership, a Project funded by the Scottish Govt. to provide technical support on improved rice production process.
  • 24. Addressing Food Security Challenges Possible Areas of Linkages• Technical support on processing and value addition of crops such as Groundnuts, Soy beans, Sunflower.• Possible marketing linkages with Scottish organizations that are interested in buying smallholder farmers crops such as rice, Groundnuts, Soy beans, Sunflower which NASFAM promotes.• Supporting Smallholder Farmers towards both Crop and Animal production processes.• Support toward HIV and AIDS impact mitigation among Smallholder Farmers.
  • 25. Addressing Food Security Challenges Thank you for your attention!Let us contribute to the impact, not only the debate!