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‘Poor decisions contributed to current food insecurity’

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Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet) has said apart from the floods and drought of the past years, poor governance and decision making is also one of the factors that have contributed to the current hunger crisis.

Malawi is currently struggling to feed an estimated 6.7 million people who are in severe hunger crisis due to low maize harvests resulting from floods of early 2015 and subsequent drought of late 2015 and early 2016.

In a policy paper on the challenges behind the food insecurity situation and solutions to the problem, Cisanet National Director, Tamani Nkhono-Mvula, said the country has the potential to produce even in the absence of rains but the political economy of allocating resources was poorly executed.

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Nkhono-Mvula wondered how the country decided to invest a lot of resources into Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) and very little into irrigation yet the government knew the coming of erratic rainfall in the wake of El nino which was announced way before the budget was formulated.

“Why did we go ahead and fail to reverse the decision to invest a lot of money into Fisp which relies on rains and not into irrigation? So, I was looking at the issue of governance and how decision making is being done on that. As a country we need to have a clear vision of how we are going to develop the agriculture sector. We need to have strong leadership because we can have a vision but if we don’t have a strong leadership to make sure that decision making is being properly channeled we are still going to have all these challenges,” Nkhono-Mvula said.

He also said looking at the state of the country’s soils, there is need for more investment in fertiliser as productivity cannot take place in degraded soils.

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“We need to find solutions to heal our soils in as much as there are also issues of rainfall,” he said.

Nkhono-Mvula also said there is need to check disparities between productivity and the ever-growing population.

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