The United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) efforts in Malawi between 2015 to 2020 have helped communities adapt to climate change allowing them to break out of the cycle of hunger, according to a recent independent evaluation.
Conducted by Information, Training and Development (ITAD), the evaluation, highlights that due to climate-smart agriculture, 95 percent of participating households reported a significant increase in crop production. For instance, in 2020, 75 percent of households claimed to have harvested over 200 kg of maize compared to 43 percent in 2019.
Even more important, 90 percent of the participants are reported to be better prepared to face natural disasters.
Marco Cavalcante, WFP’s Country Director and Representative (a.i.) in Malawi said, “Now more than ever, in the wake of the pandemic and the increasingly devastating consequences of climate change we must continue empowering communities. We will continue working together to improve food security and promote sustainable agriculture.”
WFP’s food assistance for assets (FFA) interventions program has been supporting 128,000 households in the districts of Balaka, Blantyre, Chikwawa, Machinga, Mangochi, Nsanje, Phalombe, and Zomba. Under FFA, families build and maintain community gardens and irrigation systems and reforest land to support their livelihoods, create healthier environments and reduce the impacts of climate shocks.
WFP provides assistance using food or cash transfers to cover immediate food needs while asset creation builds community resilience over time. As food security improves, communities continue building assets but without food or cash transfers.
WFP also supports them through radio weather forecasts, community-based micro-credit schemes, and crop insurance. Training to reduce post-harvest losses is imparted and their access to markets is increased by linking farmers cooperatives to local supermarkets and school feeding interventions.
Project highlights between 2015 and 2020 are as follows:
- 8.4 million tree seedlings planted
- 150,000 energy-saving stoves distributed, cutting firewood consumption by half to reduce deforestation
- 14,000 hectares of degraded land rehabilitated and under plantation (equivalent to 20,000 soccer pitches)
- 9,000 hectares of community woodlots protected (12,000 soccer pitches)
- 1,800 wells constructed or protected, increasing access to water for farming and family use
- 275 hectares of agricultural land used for solar-powered irrigation farming (400 soccer pitches)
FFA interventions have been implemented in Malawi since 2015 in coordination with technical departments from the Government of Malawi at the central and district level and with the financial support of several development partners including the Adaptation Fund, Flanders, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and USAID.