Defying harsh weather towards food security

Optimistic— Mandevu

Barnett Mandevu, 49, a resident of Ngwalangwa area in Zomba District, has been a maize farmer for close to a decade.

But he says climate change has had a devastating effect on his crop output in the recent past.

“We are receiving less rains and crops like maize are drying up. This is one of the reasons affecting growth of the agriculture sector.


“Therefore, we have decided to embark on irrigation farming,” he says.

Mandevu is among scores of farmers who are benefitting from a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project through which irrigation equipment have been distributed to help farmers dodge possible effects of climate change in the area.

Mandevu, treasurer for Mafuwa Irritating Scheme, feels that irrigation farming is a game changer.


“The scheme will help us produce more cash crops like tomatoes, beans, cabbages, while we still produce maize for food,” he said.

Not less than 100 people from about 10 villages in group village headman Kataya’s area will benefit from the project.

Mandevu adds that the area would be developed through the scheme.

“I am very optimistic that the project will come to the rescue of people here,” he said.

Nsondole Area Extension Planning Facilitator Chifundo Mphepo says climate change has resulted in low production.

“There is hunger in most of the homes because of climate change. People’s harvest is always low because the rains are not falling as they used to be. Nowadays, rains are not promising.

“This has resulted in the shortage of food because farm produce has been affected,” he said.

He encouraged farmers to consider climate smart agriculture methods.

“We are expecting to have the scheme ready by May this year. The contractor was given 90 days to finish his work. Therefore, after June, we may have the farmers using the scheme,” Mphepo said.

UNDP is working in partnership with the government and other stakeholders to contribute towards attainment of some of the aspirations in Malawi 2063 on sustainable environmental management.

The project’s key mandate is to explore alternative nature-based solutions that can be adapted to help mitigate the effects of climate change and prevent further environmental degradation.

UNDP Malawi Resident Representative Shigeki Komatsubara says the government of Japan has committed approximately $3.8 million towards Malawi’s zero-emissions and climate-resilient development pathway.

Komastubara says the idea was to implement Leveraging Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) initiatives in the energy, agriculture and land use sectors.

“The support is in line with Malawi’s NDC and building community resilience through climate adaptation and implementing mitigation actions to reduce greenhouse gases emissions for a green economy,” says Komatsubara in a press release.

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