Food system gaps worry Chakwera
President Lazarus Chakwera has decried food system gaps in the country, saying Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be met if challenges are not addressed.
SDGs, which the United Nations (UN) has been championing, are set to be achieved by 2030.
The President said this when he virtually addressed a high-level African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2021 Food Systems Summit held under the theme ‘Pathways to Recovery and Resilient Food Systems’.
The summit, which several heads of State and governments attended, was hosted by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in the run-up to the UN Food Systems Summit to be held in two weeks in New York, the United States.
He cited limited resilience to natural shocks, poor transport, processing and storage infrastructure, systemic market failures, increased energy demand, inadequate dietary diversification and low productivity and production of nutritious food as some of the gaps.
However, he told the summit that Malawi had identified possible solutions to the challenges, citing the shift from dependence on hand-hoe farming to mechanisation as well as reduced dependence on maize, among others.
“We now have a Presidential Delivery Unit in my office to push on all levers of the government system to deliver food security, which is one of the three key deliverables of our development agenda for Malawi,” Chakwera said.
The President said other strategies were being designed to drive food systems transformation towards the 2030 agenda.
“We are reviewing our regulatory framework for land use to ensure that our laws support the effective use of our arable land through mechanisation and irrigation farming and the protection of that land from climate change. We are turning our focus to the production of locally affordable foods that enhance diversified diets,” he said.
The President also said his government was supporting households exposed to shocks such as Covid and floods with surplus food realised from the Affordable Inputs Programme, which, he said, had bolstered the food system with greater capacity for food production in the country.
“We are developing several home-grown solutions that incorporate the vast experience of our people. Our expectation is that these pathways will be benchmarked by policy coherence within the Malawi 2063 vision,” Chakwera said.
The AGRF serves as the world’s premier forum for advancing Africa’s agricultural agenda to achieve the vision and goals laid out in the African Union Malabo Declaration, the SDGs, and Africa’s Agenda 2063.