MALAWI – Malawi needs US$543 million (about K563 billion) to achieve the transition to sustainable agriculture and food systems by 2030, International Institute for Sustainable Development data shows.

According to The Nation Malawi, to bridge the financing gap, the Malawi government is supposed to raise US$70 million to complement the donor share of US$472 million to enable over 2.9 million smallholder farmers to have their incomes increased.

The data was derived from a recent study on the evidence-based and costed country roadmaps for effective public interventions to transform agriculture and food systems in Ethiopia, Malawi, and Nigeria.

This comes at a time when the country is devastated following the tropical storm Cyclone Freddy which has resulted in markets being severely impacted and hampering crops at the farms.

As a result, prices of food, especially grain have skyrocketed forcing neighboring countries to offer a hand in alleviating the impacts of the storm

In addition, the country has experienced five major extreme weather events, including droughts and floods, over the past seven years, highlighting the urgent need for climate adaptation measures.

According to the institute, if the financing gap persists, Malawi could see the number of people falling into extreme poverty rise by three percentage points from 69 percent in 2016 to 72 percent in 2030.

Agriculture remains the mainstay of Malawi’s economy, contributing close to a quarter of the country’s GDP and employing about 64 percent of the labor force

However, although the government consistently allocates at least 10 percent of the national budget to the agriculture sector with an annual GDP growth rate of 6% the allocation has failed to yield desired sectoral growth.

The summary report from the institute revealed that both Ethiopia, Malawi, and Nigeria are not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

In addition, the analyst said that, without more and better public investment, hunger and poverty will rise in all three countries by 2030

According to recent estimates from the Food and Agriculture Organisation, 94 percent of Malawians cannot afford a healthy diet defined by an income of US$3.50 (about K3 626) per day.

In response, Tamani Nkhono Mvula, the agriculture development policy expert in an interview said that the biggest challenge that Malawi’s agriculture has is the whole issue of coordination and not necessarily funding.

He said: “The challenge which we have is that government does not have systems to track this funding into the sector to ensure that it is well coordinated”.

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