Devaluation, El Nino to Affect Food Security
Since the onset of the 2023/24 rainy season, the rain pattern has been uneven with most areas experiencing dry spells, low rains and normal to above normal trends.
For this reason, Zodiak went out to seek views of agriculture and economic experts on the implication of this on food security and growth of the country's economy.
Through our interviews, economic and Agriculture experts have expressed mixed views on the impact of the devaluation of the Kwacha and El Nino weather on food security.
For example, an economic expert Gowokani Chijere Chirwa has told Zodiak Online today that Malawians should expect to pay through the nose as they go towards the months of January and February where food is expensive.
He argues that inflation has come from production where raw materials have risen in prices and that the El Nino will escalate it since production of most crops will be reduced.
He added that " most of the Sustainable Development Goals like reducing hunger, malnutrition, poverty and others will not be realised and also we should expect civil issues like crimes going up and further inflation due to low production," he said.
The expert is suggesting that the government should be preparing for disasters and start sourcing food from other countries while also finding alternatives in irrigation per village and do away with clubs.
Dr. Horace Phiri, an agriculture expert concurs with Chirwa saying high prices of farm inputs is likely to result in reduced input and ultimately affecting productivity and access to food.
He said that to avoid further hunger next year, the government through the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) should expand food reserves and establish a price band to regulate consumer prices.
"Government must put a price celling to regulate prices so that they should not go up," he said.
But another economist Arthur Ngwende expressed a different view saying devaluation did not influence a hike in maize prices describing it as elastic and political which does not apply to theories of economics. He however, suggested adoption of Climate Smart Agriculture to deal with El Nino impact in the long term.
A Neno resident Mathew Ian is worried that if prices of fertilizer and seeds continue to go high, many farmers will not produce enough thereby creating a huge room for hunger next year and years to come.