Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt 08th November, 2022 (AEJ) – President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, concluded the first day’s activities at the CoP27 World Leaders’ Summit, in Sharm El-Sheikh, with a couple of fireside chats with other world leaders, including an audience with Her Excellency, President Samia Suluhu Hassan of neighbouring Tanzania.
The focus of the meeting was to address the bottlenecks in the supply chain, that are impeding the provision of fuel to Malawi.
The two also discussed the importance of correcting these anomalies in order to maintain meaningful economic growth for both Malawi and Tanzania. The Malawi leader also participated in a high-level round table discussion on food security where he shared with the delegates how the population of 3.8 million Malawi will need food assistance this year alone.
“3.8 million Malawians have had their food lost and damaged because of climate change right now. So, while we call on partners to support eco-friendly debt financial instruments in the form of green and blue bonds for purposes of transitioning towards a more sustainable food system, we also require financing for climate-caused loss and damage of food and other assets, such as roads, bridges, canals, power stations, and markets,” Chakwera explained.
Chakwera added that hunger is a silent climate change weapon that threatens to starve millions of Malawians to death.
“Climate change affected the timing of the rains and brought rains with so much force that their food crops were washed away. So, for developing countries like Malawi, there is a need for a comprehensive exploration of food systems which integrate agriculture, nutrition, and socio-economic indicators,” Chakwera said.
He said Malawi has taken a food systems approach which is not only essential for the fulfilment of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, but also for developing human and environmental health.
He said Malawi is promoting native crops that are resistant to climate change effects such as drought, crop pests, and diseases. The Malawi leader was making reference to locally produced crops that subsistence farming have been producing all alone. This is in direct agreement with the mandate of the Malawi Agro-biodiversity Network (MAgNET) that champions farmers rights and issues of seeds sovereignty.
MAgNET is supporting the development of an adequate agro-biodiversity information hub and identifying areas where more information is lacking and where new technology is needed. Furthermore, the network seeks to identify and facilitate relevant research partnership that strengthen multidisciplinary and participatory agro-biodiversity research and involve work on different agro-ecosystems components and contribute to building agro-ecosystems research capacity.
According to Chakwera native food is neglected in most national dialogue, a development which he argued needs mindset change as there is a need to include the production of native crops in national development programmes as part of food and security.
“This would also require the application of new innovative technologies, finance, and extension services to assist small-scale food producers who account for roughly 30% of global crop production. Malawi has the capacity to grow the food we all need tomorrow, but we need support in strengthening food systems and providing for current incidents of climate-induced loss and damage,” he said.
Additional reporting by AEJ’s Charles Mkoka in Lilongwe, Malawi