Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

FANRPAN holds the Malawi Inception Meeting for the "SECCAP for Agriculture" Project
27 May 2011

The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) held an inception meeting for stakeholders in Malawi for its new project, "Strengthening Evidence-Based Climate Change Adaptation Policies (SECCAP) for Agriculture".

FANRPAN holds the Malawi Inception Meeting for the The meeting sought to discuss the project and its implementation modalities and expected outputs and outcomes, the roles of different stakeholders, and to elect a Project Steering Committee.It was convened by the Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET) that is the FANRPAN node hosting institution in Malawi, and was hosted by the Bunda College of Agriculture, which is part of the University of Malawi. The meeting was graced by the presence of the FANRPAN Chief Executive Officer, Dr Lindiwe Sibanda, and the Vice-Principal of Bunda College, Dr Charles Masangano. FANRPAN was represented at the meeting by its climate change programme coordinator, Dr Sepo Hachigonta, and social protection and livelihoods programme coordinator, Mr Ian Mashingaidze.

The meeting was attended by 32 people from key sectors: the Government of Malawi (Ministry of Development Planning and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, and Department of Disaster Management), National Smallholder Farmers' Association of Malawi, Bunda College of Agriculture, UNDP, civil society (World Vision, CISANET, CARE, DanChurchAid, Norwegian Church Aid), and the media (Africa Press Agency, Nation Publication, Radio Islam, Joy Radio).

At the meeting it was agreed that the SECCAP project will go a long way in informing the implementation of the Malawi National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) that, amongst others, seeks to address adaptation needs around:
  • Sustaining life and livelihoods of the most vulnerable communities;
  • Enhancing food security;
  • Improving crop production through the use of appropriate technologies: and
  • Increasing resilience of food production systems to erratic rains.
One issue that generated a lot of discussion in the meeting was the fact that the SECCAP project focus district, Lilongwe, is not amongst those in Malawi that areconsidered to be most vulnerable to climate extremes such as droughts and floods. Salima was suggested as a better study district. The meeting, however, resolved thatsince Lilongwe district is one of the breadbaskets of the country, it needs to be "climate-proofed" to protect national food security. The research under the project will be used to indicate projected changes in climate, and inform adaptation initiatives in the district.While appreciating the outcomes expected from the SECCAP project, the stakeholders called for attention to be given to the impact of changing climate on livestock in Malawi, as this is an important source of livelihood for rural households.

In closing the meeting, Dr Charles Masangano called for strong and committed participation by the different stakeholders to ensure the success of the project. "The stronger we work together, the stronger the output we will get", he said.

FANRPAN received a grant from The African Adaptation Research Centres (AARC) initiative of the International Development Research Institute (IDRC) for the three-year SECCAP project.The overall objective of the project is to enhance the institutional capacity for policy analysts and scientists in the fields of agriculture, climate and socio-economics to collectively build a strong base of evidence on cropping systems and livelihoods to inform adaptation policies and investment decisions.Through the project, FANRPAN will work with partners in three countries (Lesotho, Malawi and Swaziland) to:
  1. Generate solid scientific understanding of downscaled climate scenarios for three selected districts in Lesotho, Malawi and Swaziland;
  2. Integrate downscaled climate scenarios with crop growth and adaptation models, and with district-wide household vulnerability information;
  3. Consequently determine the socio-economic feasibility of recommended cropping options;
  4. Contextualise the knowledge generated and help develop appropriate policy recommendations, in particular for the finalisation of the Swaziland National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA), the implementation of the Lesotho and Malawi NAPA priorities on agriculture, and linking NAPAS to theComprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) agenda; and
  5. Transfer the knowledge generated across a wide range of beneficiaries, from decision makers to local communities.
The results from this process will contribute to evidence-based decision making for policy makers and development practitioners. In addition to generating evidence, the project will also:
  1. Train selected university students on climate modelling and scenario building, and to undertake costbenefit analysis of proposed adaptation options to changing climate;
  2. Strengthen the capacity of selected communities to use evidence generated by the project to advocate for better policies; and
  3. Encourage policymakers to demand evidence to inform policy processes.

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