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STRUCTURAL DAMAGE: THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF MALAWI'S FOOD CRISIS

Author(s): Owusu, K.; Ng'ambi, F.

Produced by: World Development Movement (WDM) (2002)

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This report from WDM details IMF enforced policies which it claims have undermined Malawi's ability to feed its people. It blames the ongoing privatisation of the food production and distribution system (notably the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation - ADMARC), removal of agricultural subsides to small farmers and deregulation of price controls on staple foods such as maize - policies that have enabled Malawi to avoid famine in the past.

The authors make the following recommendations:
  • Malawi must maintain an efficient and transparent grain reserve agency to ensure adequate supply of maize throughout the year.
  • The function and stocking level of the Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) must be decided by the Malawi government.
  • The SGR must be adequately capitalised and, if necessary, its operations must be subsidised.
  • A rapid response mechanism is needed to deal with future food crises at an early stage.
  • The SGR must be subject to regular independent audit, with oversight from Parliament and civil society.
  • Malawian civil society must participate in future policy decisions that impact directly on household food security.
  • The right to development and food, which is enshrined in Malawi's constitution, must be articulated into explicit obligations on behalf of all the parties involved in ensuring national food security policy. Accountability for protecting violations of citizens' right to food and to development must rest with the Malawi government.
  • Agricultural policy should be re-oriented to address the core problems of rural poverty, the escalating HIV/AIDS pandemic, and the marginalisation of women.
  • Donors should build the capacity of the Malawi government to undertake Poverty and Social Impact Assessment (PSIA), with the participation of civil society, on all major policies.
  • There should be full cancellation of Malawi's long term debts, on the understanding that funds are invested in the development of Malawi's economy and its people.
  • The Malawi government must take the lead in economic policymaking, and donors should play a role in building, not supplanting, the capacity of the government to do so with full accountability to Parliament and civil society




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