AHL Commodities Exchange (AHCX) says Malawi should consider investments in irrigation farming as a permanent phenomenon following the devastating effects the country suffered from the El Nino weather conditions that hit the country over the past two years.
Australia Bureau of Metrology and the United States Climate Change Prediction Centre have predicted that the sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean will return to “neutral” levels, bringing to an end to one of the strongest El Ninos in history, Britain’s Financial Times reported on Wednesday.
Malawi and other countries are now expected to return to normal weather conditions and commenting on the development, AHCX General Manager, Davis Manyenje, said in Lilongwe on Wednesday that Malawi needs to position itself properly and ensure a return to times of surplus food production which could enable it increase commodity exports and meet international demands.
He said, however, that since global warming remains and that El Nino and other adverse weather conditions could return, it was important for Malawi to use the prospective break in bad weather to prepare itself for the future.
“Investment in irrigation should be permanent in our development planning,” said Manyenje.
University of New South Wales research associate, Agus Santoso, agrees that global warming is widely expected to result in more frequent El Nino and La Nina events.
“Our study suggests that due to global warming El Nino weather patterns are likely to occur more frequently in the future and their impacts become more severe,” Santoso told The Financial Times of London on Wednesday.
Impacts of El Nino, named after the Christ Child by the Peruvian fishermen who noticed the phenomenon in the 17th century, were felt all over the world, particularly in developing countries such as Malawi which are less able to cope with weather extremes and where insurance cover tends to be inadequate.
Drought has had a devastating impact in Malawi where widespread crop failures have resulted into reduced crop harvests and food shortages.
AHCX is Malawi’s marketplace where buyers and sellers transact trade of commodities with an assurance on quality, delivery and payment. It is a fully electronic market that brings in transparency, thereby empowering farmers through market information in real time on prices and other trends on the commodities market.