‘High population growth threatens productivity’
United Nations (UN) agencies Food and Agriculture Organisation (Fao) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have observed that high population growth rates are a threat to Malawi’s agricultural productivity.
In a joint statement Wednesday, the two UN agencies say, as a predominantly agricultural economy, family planning is important for Malawi to increase productivity in the sector.
Women represent 70 percent of Malawi’s labour force in agriculture.
“So, family planning can assist families save incomes and invest energies in the creation of wealth for themselves and their children through increased agricultural productivity,” the statement reads.
The statement then announces a new sexual reproductive health rights training module for agricultural extension workers and lead farmers by Fao, UNFPA and the Government of Malawi through ministries of Health and Agriculture.
The module is being delivered as part of farmer field school master trainers’ course, according to the statement.
“The specific focus is to recognise importance of increasing awareness about sexual and reproductive health rights and safe motherhood so that farmers make best choices for building prosperous future of family while ensuring availability of family labour for agriculture and other economic activities,” the statement quotes Fao representative Zhijun Chen as saying.
UNFPA representative Young Hong says family planning would help parents space their children according to their financial, mental and physical capacities.
The Malawi Housing and Population Census (2018) indicates that nearly 85 percent of Malawi’s population lives in rural areas.
The agriculture sector, which employs 80 percent of the population, contributes over 30 percent of gross domestic product and contributes about 25 percent to foreign exchange earnings.
Eric Msikiti is a Senior Reporter/News Producer at Times Group. Though relatively young, Eric boasts years of experience in Malawi’s media industry.