The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently signed an agreement with Norwegian Church Aid to strengthen the agricultural sector in Malawi. Together with the Development Fund, NMBU and a number of Malawian partners, they will contribute to novel approaches and innovation in the agricultural sector.
The goal is to reach 180 000 smallholder farmers in one of the world's poorest countries, where people are under continuous pressure from climatic threats such as flooding and drought.
The world is in the midst of the worst pandemic in modern times. Hunger and poverty are increasing as a result of the crisis. The UN warns that we may face the worst food crisis in over 50 years. Immediate action is required to provide better solutions to these challenges.
“We want to contribute to a real change in the agricultural sector in Malawi over the next four years. [This will be] a combined effort from several actors, where we focus on new thinking, innovation and research to the benefit of smallholder farmers in the five districts in which we will focus our work” says Norwegian Church Aid's country director for Malawi, Håvard Hovdhaugen.
The current agreement is for funding of NOK 70 million for one year, with the intention to provide similar support for the next three years.
“This is an important investment in food security and development in Malawi by the Government of Norway, and the Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric) is delighted to be a part of the agreement and to coordinate research in the program on behalf of NMBU” says Shai André Divon, Head of Department at Noragric.
The agreement will help to strengthen local food systems and facilitate sustainable agriculture that will provide growth in this sector, increase farmers' incomes and counteract hunger. Today, food security is low in Malawi, but by strengthening local food systems, farming will become more robust and resilient to climate change.
“NMBU looks forward to contributing to research and the development of competence together with Norwegian and Malawian partners in this important project” says Eva Falleth, Dean of the Faculty of Landscape and Society at NMBU.
To solve the food crisis the world is facing, it is crucial to have a holistic approach, and that multiple sectors, institutions and countries join forces.
“It is important that researchers collaborate with aid organizations and that aid organizations collaborate with researchers. We can learn a lot from that. Together, we can be more effective” says Rie Lukowski, Malawi's Country Director for the Development Fund.