Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Climate change, poverty and envrionment in Malawi

ReliefWeb has a link to an Oxfam report on Malawi:… Malawi is … beginning to demonstrate that with the right support, farmers can succeed and overcome some of the limitations of both poverty and a fickle climate. Crucially 2006 and 2007 were years of generally good rain and just as crucially, improved government policies and support, meant two record-breaking national maize harvests in a row. The record-breaking harvests give hope for the future, albeit fragile. Malawi is dangerously over-dependent on maize. Building resilience to climate change means seizing this moment to diversify crops and diversify rural livelihoods ready for the next time that the rains are poor.

Good adaptation and good development are intimately linked. For farmers it starts with being able to get access to improved seeds – faster maturing and higher yielding - but to fulfil the potential of such seeds requires much more, including training in innovative farming methods – and sometimes the revival of old methods. The use of irrigation and compost, and growing a wider range of crops, are particularly crucial in the south, where population is high and land shortages are exacerbated by the presence of huge tea estates.

…The government of Malawi has developed a list of priority activities that it wants to implement in order to start adaptation to climate change. Malawi's National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) aim to improve community resilience, restore forests, improve agricultural production, and improve preparedness for floods and droughts and boost climate monitoring. To fund Malawi's NAPAs requires US$ 22.43 million. To date, however, no money has been forthcoming from the international community that asked Malawi to develop its plan. Oxfam says the ongoing failure to fund the NAPAs drawn up by Least Developed Countries is unacceptable. However, Civil Society Organisations in Malawi also say lack of donor funding must not become an excuse for inaction: the government can and should do more even if the NAPAs remain unfunded….

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