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Population, climate change threaten food production
7 December 2010
Kondwani Munthali
The Nation

Acknowledgements: FANRPAN acknowledges The Nation as the source of this news article


Rising population growth rates and the climate change due to global warming threaten Malawi’s ability to feed itself and quick decisions have to be made now to address the threat of food insecurity in the next three decades.

Professor John Saka, a leading climate change expert, was consulting stakeholders through the Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet) at the Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe on Friday where he said despite the increase in population, projected at 40 million by 2050, landholding and yields will remain constant.

“The changing climate will impact on rainfall, the temperatures will rise and at most the prices will go up on food demand across the world. We would not be able to export,” said Saka whose research was also done in 11 other southern African countries.

He said adaptation of appropriate technology, improving literacy and adopting means of improving yield per hectare would help reduce the impact. He also said debate should begin in earnest on population management.

In response to methods of production being used as contributing to low yields, director of crops in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security Dr Godfrey Ching’oma said government is currently working to provide mechanised systems to farmers.

“Tractors are available at the cost of K12 000 [about $78] per hectare for farmers and we are also providing ox-driven ploughs for extension planning areas that we should not continue relying on the hoe for cultivation,” said Ching’oma.

Cisanet chairperson Edson Musopole said the research by Saka and Dr Pickford Sibale was aimed at finding long-term solutions to the changing climate and its impact on food production as Malawi is an agriculture-based economy.

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