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Creating a climate for policy change in Malawi

May 30th, 2011

An article by Blessing Chinsinga posted on SciDevNet on how climate change is tremendously damaging agriculture and on the importance of policy changes in the adaptation process

Malawi maize farmer / Flickr – Swathi Sridharan

The biggest part of Malawi’s GDP is the product of agriculture, particularly of maize, which is the first source of food. Farmers have said that “maize is food and if we do not grow it, we fear we will not have food”. But climate change is seriously threatening the only crop the population relies on and high temperatures are causing huge yields reductions.

This article by Blessings Chinsinga posted on Science and Development Network explains how the key strategy to cope with climate change is crop diversification, which could then allow to achieve food security. ”Maize is so important that some scholars characterize Malawi’s politics as the politics of maize”.  But Malawi must diversify away from maize in order to adapt to climate change.

“While constantly making references to the ideals of crop diversification, the main preoccupation of the government is to achieve food security using high-yielding maize varieties”, writes Chinsinga.
The goal of changing the politics of food security is failing. “Even a major fertilizer subsidy programme, introduced by the government in 2005, has failed, even though it was designed to promote crop diversification”.

Blessing Chinsinga tells how critical the role of policy is in the adaptation process and how the “conflict between climate adaptation and food security policies shows we must create the right conditions for change”.

Read full article here