|National Climate Smart Agriculture – Post Harvest Loss Management Policy Dialogue convened in Malawi
|29 April 2016
Stakeholders attending the CSA national policy dialogue
The Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Malawi node hosted by the Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET) convened a Multi-Stakeholder Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) and Post - Harvest Loss Management (PHLM) National Policy Dialogue in Lilongwe, Malawi on the 29 April 2016.
In August 2015, FANRPAN partnered with the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA) to conduct a case study on the status of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) in Malawi, under a project: Perspectives on "Climate-Smart Agriculture from Across the Globe: Climate-smart Case Studies". GACSA is a voluntary alliance of partners, dedicated to addressing the challenges facing food security and agriculture under a changing climate. The National policy Dialogue which was funded by FAO provided a platform for 63 CSA stakeholders in Malawi to make their contribution to the case study by validating the study and giving recommendations as well as to share their perspectives and experiences on PHLM in Malawi. Delegates at the National Policy Dialogue included senior National Government officials, donor organizations, farmers' organizations, agri-business, development partner agencies and civil society organizations.
Delegates to the 2016 Malawi National CSA and PHLM dialogue, Lilongwe, Malawi
During the National Policy Dialogue, the Facilitator and FANRPAN node coordinator, Mr Tamani Nkhono-Mvula, gave the welcome remarks, introductions, overview of the day, and overall coordination of the program. John Mussa, Director of Land Resources, gave the opening remarks where he placed emphasis on the importance of agriculture to the economy of Malawi, stating that agriculture is the backbone of the Malawi economy, employing up to 80% of the workforce. He also highlighted the urgent need for CSA, which he defined as an approach and not a practice. Reiterating that there is need to improve the productivity, adaptation and mitigation capacity of smallholder farmers in Malawi seeing as growing seasons continue to grow shorter and land degradation continues to claim up to 39 tonnes of soil per year per hectare in Malawi. Mr Mussa placed emphasis on the need for Malawi to be able to sustainably feed the 13.1 Million and growing population.
Director of land Resources, John Mussa giving the opening address
Following the opening remarks, Mr Mataya from the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM) presented on current NASFAM projects designed to enhance smallholder farmer resilience in the face of a changing climate. The NASFAM initiatives were reported to be met by high uptake by farmers.
Mr F Mataya (NASFAM) presenting on current NASFAM projects designed to enhance smallholder farmer resilience in the face of a changing climate
Dr Limbikani Matumba followed with a presentation on "Responding to the Aflatoxin Challenge". In his presentation, he emphasised on considering all mycotoxins as undesirable in foodstuffs instead of only focusing only on aflatoxins. In his presentation, Dr Matumba reported on a study that was done on the "Knowledge, attitude, and practices concerning presence of moulds in foods among members of the general public in Malawi". Dr Matumba talked about the conditions and post - harvest handling practices that favour aflatoxins and also talked about the health risks of ingesting aflatoxin contaminated food which include cancer, suppressed immune function and decrease in resistance to infectious diseases among others. The presentation clearly demonstrated that the public in Malawi is not well informed of the health implications associated with mouldy food- and feedstuffs, this rendering both the public and livestock vulnerable to aflatoxins and their effects on health. Dr Matumba then made a recommendation that policies be designed to build awareness programs about the health risks associated with spoilage moulds in food (and not only focusing on aflatoxins) and the social and economic benefits of reducing this risk.
Limbikani Matumba presenting on the aflatoxin challenge
Henry Kankambwa, a lecturer from the University of Malawi presented on "rethinking CSA interventions". In his presentation, Henry talked about sustainable agricultural practices and uptake of technologies in Malawi. He reported on a study that was done with regard to this issue. The study revealed that farmers that adopt soil and water conservation and improved maize technologies have positive incomes. However, farmers who adopted all sustainable agricultural practices realized less farm incomes. He interpreted the results to imply that extension messages should be tailored to assist farmers adopt technologies which are suitable to them instead of adopting all technologies. Charles Singano, also gave a presentation on PHLM. The presentation covered activities undertaken from harvest to consumption.
Charles Singano presenting on post-harvest loss management
The case study report on the status of CSA in Malawi was presented by Farai Gwelo from FANRPAN. In the presentation Farai started by giving an overview of the agricultural sector in Malawi. She gave a picture of the important agriculture in the economy of Malawi. She mentioned how the agricultural sector contributes up to 35% of the country's GDP and up to 90% of export income. She then talked about the policies that enable CSA in Malawi and the CSA interventions/programs currently running and recently ended. Eleven policies were reported to be relevant to CSA and about 50 interventions were reported. Among the most enabling policies and plans, the presenter elaborated on the national Climate Change Policy and the mainstreaming of climate change into the national agricultural policy. The CSA financing environment was also presented, as well as the state of extension services in Malawi. The presenter also talked about the National Climate Change Investment Plan (NCCIP) which is set to run for up to 6 years with a budget of about 950 million USD. The NCCIP covers up to 11 priority areas including adaptation, mitigation and climate change research among others. In conclusion, the presenter mentioned that although CSA has great potential for mitigation and many other benefits, adoption is often hampered by lack of required inputs. The presenter also talked about the need for policies that will enable the adoption of CSA interventions and detailed site specific studies on the benefits, costs and adoption barriers of agricultural practices to precede policy formulation in order to develop relevant ad feasible CSA policies and strategies.
Farai Gwelo presenting the findings of the Malawi CSA case study
Following the presentations, the delegates got into groups to discuss the CSA case study and challenges of PHLM.
Delegates having group discussions
Beatrice Makwenda of NASFAM gave the closing remarks.
The resolutions from the dialogue will be shared soon. For more information on this national policy dialogue or the case study work, contact CSA-PLUS@fanrpan.org