Research key to addressing climate change effects, maximizing agricultural production, productivity—Malawi Govt

Director of Land Resource Management in the Ministry of Agriculture, Gertrude Kambauwa, has disclosed that research is key to addressing adverse effects of climate change and maximizing agricultural production and productivity.
Kambauwa made the remarks on Tuesday when she opened a half-day National Research Dissemination Workshop in Lilongwe. The workshop has been organized by MwAPATA Institute in partnership with Africa Economic Research Consortium (AERC).

Kambauwa (3rd from left) posing for a photo with delegates to the research dissemination workshop in Lilongwe
She observed that Malawi, just like many other African countries, is facing disproportionately high effects of the impact of climate change than other parts of the world.
She lamented that Southern Africa is experiencing climate disasters and shocks that have affected agricultural production and productivity.
“You will agree with me that in recent years until early this year, Malawi and other countries in the Southern part of Africa such as Mozambique have not been impacted by the weather-related shocks that are becoming more intense and more frequent because of climate change.
“As a nation, Malawi has been hit by drought, late onset of rains, early stoppage of rains, pests and diseases like the fall armyworm and, of course, recently, the cyclones, among many others,” said Kambauwa.
She added, “To the disadvantage of Africa, the continent and its people are ill-equipped to cope with climate change challenges. Climate change negatively affects agricultural production and productivity, hence negatively affecting income and food security. As a result, many people in Africa are at risk of poverty and food insecurity because of the impacts of climate change.”
However, Kambauwa pointed out that the Malawi Government is working tirelessly with its development partners to ensure that the country designs and implements programs that build resilient livelihoods to ensure sustained food security for the nations.
She said the Ministry of Agriculture is, among others, encouraging adoption of climate-smart agriculture practices as a way of addressing challenges faced in agriculture production.
“Farmers are highly encouraged through the different routes set by the Ministry of Agriculture to plant early maturing and drought resistant varieties of maize and other crops, use mulching for moisture retention, retain or incorporate crop residues into the soil instead of burning, in-situ rainwater harvesting, agroforestry as well as, crop rotation among other practices,” she said.
MwAPATA Institute Executive Director, William Chadza, said the research findings disseminated at the workshop will help farmers and policymakers to make informed decisions going forward.

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