Malawi: Food Insecurity

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Every living thing requires food in order to survive. Human beings require plenty of food supply to survive in all seasons and when they have shortage of food they will suffer from hunger and it may results in getting malnutrition diseases. Africa is one of the continent that experiences food insecurity most of the time. Some African countries like Malawi have been known to be experiencing shortage of food most of the time due to some factors. People in Malawi experience shortage of food due to some factors such as frequent drought, water scarcity, price of maize, fertilizers and distance to market.

Environmental: Drought and Maize Planting

People in Malawi depend on maize as their stable food. Maize production is high when there is no drought and low when there is drought. For many years Malawi has been known to experience droughts for many years which led to low production of maize and thus making people to lack food. Kondwani et al. found that abought 97% of the farmers in Malawi plant maize because they see maize farming as the easiest one and does not require a lot of materials when planting (insert page). People cultivate their lands only and plant theirs maize when their good rainfall. According to Kondwani et al. the “drought of 1990s and 2000s significantly reduced maize production and led to famine in many areas of Malawi” (2). Drought makes everywhere to be dry thus making maize farming impossible. In some years ago, drought was seen as the factor that led to food insecurity in Malawi.

Environmental: Irrigation and Maize Harvest

Water is so useful in plantation of crops. Some crops needs irrigation in order to produce high yields and thus irrigation cannot work when there is shortage of water. Malawi is one of the country that experience scarcity of water which has led to shortage of food because irrigation cannot be applied. People only depend on rain to plant their food crops such as maize and they are not able to plant crops like rice which requires irrigation. In a TED Talk on “harnessing wind” for power, Kamkwaba, a citizen-scholar and community activist, discussed how he build the wind mill that generated electricity for pumping water in rural of Malawi. He says the electricity assisted people to do irrigation because people in rural areas were lacking water for doing irrigation. Scarcity of one water is one of the factor that causes food insecurity because people are not able to do irrigation without plenty water.

Economics: The Cost of Maize

When maize production is low the price of maize will be high because the demand will be high and supply is low. People who have less money will not be affording to buy maize at the market price and thus causing famine in their homes. Fisher and Lewin reported in their community study that due to drought which occurs most of the time in Malawi, the production of maize has been low which has led to high demand and making their prices to be high. People in rural areas of Malawi are not able to buy maize at that price because they don’t have enough money thus making them to stay without food. High Price of maize has led to food insecurity in Malawi because people are not able to buy food.

Economics: The Cost of Fertilizer

Additionally, price of fertilizers causes food insecurity in Malawi. Every crop that is being planted needs fertilizers to add nutrients thus making it to produce high yields. Fisher and Lewin noted that when the price of fertilizers is high , most people are not affording to buy at that high price. They plant their crops without fertilizers which leads to low production of their yields. In Malawi most the people which plants maize are not able to get fertilizers and they end up planting without. The production will low because maize will get nutrients which are necessary for making food. This has led to high percentage of food insecurity in Malawi.

Economics & Environment: Distance

Additionally, distance to market is one of the main factor that has led to food insecurity in Malawi. People who live in urban centers depend on food from farmers who do farming in rural areas. The farmers may be having plenty of food in rural areas but it difficult for them to get to market. The country of Malawi have poor infrastructures which makes farmers to experience huge loses because most of their products will get spoil before getting to market. People who expect these food will end up starving because no food will reach the market. Some other people may be living too far from market and they may not be able to get market to buy food thus staying without food.

In conclusion, the government of Malawi should subsidize the price of fertilizers so that everyone will afford to purchase. This will make the production of to be high because everyone will be able to put enough fertilizers on their crops. When there is high production of maize, the demand for maize goes down thus making their price to fall. People will be able to buy maize at low price and everyone will be able to get food. The government of Malawi also should provide grants for windmill constructions. Windmills will assist people over dry seasons in pumping water for irrigation and other uses. The government of Malawi also should improve bank infrastructure to funnel money to projects and people in need. Lastly the government of Malawi should set aside emergency funds for drought and other unexpected things.

Work Cited

Kamkwamba, William. “William Kamkwamba: 'How I Harnessed the Wind' (TED Talks, 2009).” YouTube, YouTube, 14 Mar. 2010,

Msowoya, Kondwani, et al. “Climate Change Impacts on Maize Production in the Warm Heart of Africa.” SpringerLink, Springer Netherlands, 6 Sept. 2016,

Fisher, Monica, and Paul A lewin. “Household, Community, and Policy Determinants of Food Insecurity in Rural Malawi.” May 2004.

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Malawi: Food Insecurity. (2019, Feb 15). Retrieved February 28, 2024 , from

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