Vice President, Dr. Saulos Chilima has asked farmers in the country to insure their agriculture investment to better respond to drought and other climate change shocks.
Chilima made the appeal Thursday in Blantyre during the Rural Resilience Initiative Insurance Pay-out ceremony organized by World Food Programme (WFP).
Chilima said Malawi as a country continues to be vulnerable to the effects of climate change as evidenced by rainfall variability, droughts and floods.
“The trend has increased the farmers’ vulnerability to weather shocks such as the dry spells experienced in the just-ended growing season. Disasters in Malawi have three main impacts: food insecurity, stagnant development and stressed population.
“While government and its partners provide relief food to affected populations during emergencies, this intervention has failed to break the cycle of food insecurity because they did not build resilience,” he said.
Benoit Thiry, WFP Country Director said strengthening resilience against adverse effects of climate change is key in overcoming hunger, addressing poverty and safeguarding gains the
country has achieved.
Thiry said 90 percent of the land cultivated in Malawi is rain fed which means a vast majority of people living in the rural areas are vulnerable to weather shocks such as dry spells.
“The aim of launching this resilience programme is to see poor families escape from food insecurities and poverty within few years and break the cycle of successive and preventable relief responses in Malawi.
“The insurance programme will also compensate farmers for losses and prevent farmers from resorting to desperate measures such as selling of livestock and other properties,” Thiry said.
WFP Rural Resilience initiative is one component of the intergrated resilience approach which has helped to break the new ground in risk management by enabling poorest farmers pay for drought insurance with their labour while developing capacity to pay for it in cash.
During this season, about 7,000 drought affected farmers will receive an insurance payout valued at over MK360 million.
This is first time that weather index insurance programme has directly delivered payouts at such a large scale in Malawi. (by Solister Mogha