LILONGWE: UN World Food Programme’s (WFP) activities in Malawi between 2015 to 2020 have helped communities adapt to a changing climate and enabled them to break out of the cycle of hunger, confirms a recent independent evaluation.
The evaluation, conducted by Information, Training and Development (ITAD), highlights that 95 percent of participating households reported increased crop production thanks to climate-smart agriculture with 75 percent of households harvesting over 200 kg of maize in 2020 compared to 43 percent in 2019. In addition, 90 percent of the participants reported being better prepared to face natural disasters.
“Now more than ever, in the wake of the pandemic and the increasingly devastating consequences of climate change we must continue empowering communities,” said Marco Cavalcante, WFP’s Country Director and Representative (a.i.) in Malawi. “We will continue working together to improve food security and promote sustainable agriculture.”
WFP’s food assistance for assets (FFA) interventions have 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.
Highlights of the project include (2015-2020):
• 8.4 million tree seedlings planted
• 150,000 energy-saving stoves distributed, cutting firewood consumption by half to reduce
• 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 central and district level and with the financial support of several development partners including the Adaptation Fund, Flanders, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom and USAID.