Food Security in Malawi
Food security programs such as agricultural training and food banks sustain the nutritional needs of communities through all seasons and any unforeseen environmental challenges.
All of the epicenters in Malawi have food banks and the average capacity is at 60,000 kilograms. Three of the epicenters have food processing equipment such as vegetable drying pan, scales, a refrigerator, and basins. The food bank and the food processing equipment are both crucial in allowing the partners to receive more for their crops when at market, and also help to provide a buffer against famine.
Seven of the epicenters distribute fertilizer and eight utilize fertilizer subsidies. All have revolving loan funds and four have warrantage programs. Warrantage programs allow the farmers to save their crops until a better time to sell and, at the same time, use them as collateral for small loans.
All eight epicenters have crop diversification programs, important in increasing resilience against climate change as well as improving nutritional intake and six have agricultural stores.
Every epicenter has at least one food security trainer, with Kachindamoto Epicenter having the most at five, and with a grand total of 13 active food security trainers among all the epicenters. Five out of the eight host agricultural shows, and one, Nchalo Epicenter has a farmers’ union, co-op or association of some kind, which is hugely important in insuring that the farmers receive a fair price for their crops and have collective bargaining power.
Depending on the epicenter, some partners raise cows, pigs, chickens, goats and/or sheep and at two epicenters, partners keep bees. The main crops grown in Malawi are maize, sorghum, pigeon peas and rice.