AHL Commodities Exchange (AHCX) says Malawi should position itself to return to normal agricultural production through both rain-fed agriculture and irrigation following predictions by global weather authorities that the El Nino pattern, which hit many parts of the world over the past two years, has meanwhile come to an end.
According to Britain’s Financial Times, Malawi and other countries are now expected to return to normal weather conditions following a declaration by both the Australia Bureau of Metrology and the United States Climate Change Prediction Centre that sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean will return to “neutral” levels, bringing an end to one of the strongest El Niños in history.
The paper said although the two weather bureaus foresee an emergence of La Niña – another extreme weather pattern that brings cooler and wetter conditions in the Pacific and more storms in Europe and the United States, the prospect is widely predicted to bring relief to drought-stricken areas in the Asia-Pacific region and Africa where temperatures have been higher than normal.
Commenting on the development, AHCX General Manager, Davis Manyenje, said in Lilongwe that Malawi needs to position itself properly and ensure a return to times of surplus food production which could enable it increase commodity exports and meet international demand.
He said, however, that since global warming remains and that El nino and other adverse weather conditions could return, it was important for Malawi to use the prospective break in bad weather to prepare itself for the future.
“Investment in irrigation should be permanent in our development planning,” Manyenje said.
University of New South Wales research associate, Agus Santoso, agrees that global warming is widely expected to result in more frequent El Niño and La Niña events.
“Our study suggests that due to global warming El Niño weather patterns are likely to occur more frequently in the future and their impacts become more severe,” Santoso told The Financial Times of London last Wednesday.
Impacts of El Niño, named after the Christ Child by Peruvian fishermen who noticed the phenomenon in the 17th century, were felt all over the world, particularly in developing countries such as Malawi which are less able to cope with weather extremes and where insurance cover tends to be inadequate.
Drought has had a devastating impact in Malawi where widespread crop failures have resulted into reduced crop harvests and food shortages.
AHCX is Malawi’s marketplace where buyers and sellers transact trade of commodities with an assurance on quality, delivery and payment.
It is a fully electronic market that brings in transparency, thereby empowering farmers through market information in real time on prices and other trends on the commodities market.
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