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Enhancing smallholder farmers resilience to climate change and disasters

Project Background

In 2019, Malawi was hit by Tropical Cyclone Idai, leaving a good number of districts in the southern and central region greatly affected by floods. An assessment by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Malawi Government, through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), revealed that 15 districts (two in the centre, 13 in the south) were affected. An estimated 975,600 people were affected by floods, with 60 deaths and 672 injuries reported. Farmers’ crop fields including livestock and houses were also swept away.

In response, NASFAM, in collaboration with the GIZ, decided to intervene by providing interventions that will help smallholder farmers build resilience to future climatic shocks and disasters so as to reduce the impact of such events.

Project Objective

The project aims to build resilience of 12,000 smallholder farmers and their families to impacts of climate change for attainment of sustainable livelihoods.

Specific objectives

  1. To improve crop productivity among smallholder farmers - Improved access to good quality inputs and information will enable farmers get more from their investment.
  2. To enhance rural communities’ responses to disasters and impacts induced by climate change - NASFAM will use an SMS system to disseminate weather and climate information to help reduce risk. Such early warning systems will help farmers develop appropriate mitigation and adaptation measures.
  3. To increase access to stable and profitable markets - Access to profitable markets remains a challenge among smallholder farmers. NASFAM, apart from linking farmers to other profitable markets, will also link them to its commercial arm, NASCOMEX, to help create competition for better prices.

Theory of Change

NASFAM envisages that by increasing productivity and farmers’ incomes through access to good quality seed, weather, climate and production information as well as organized and profitable markets, the project will build resilience for smallholder farmers which will impact positively on the their general livelihood. It will lead to increased food and income security with the knock-on effect of more reliable livelihoods, better health and nutrition, and better quality of life.

Project Beneficiaries and Location

Direct target beneficiaries are 12, 000 smallholder farmers and their families, directly or indirectly affected by Cyclone Idai in Mulanje, Phalombe and Mangochi districts. 

In the targeted districts, at least 48% of women face double the challenges over their male counterparts. This is due to the structurally disadvantaged position that women farmers hold including limited access to production finance, low participation in agricultural input and output markets, and no guaranteed land ownership.

Integration of gender balance

Culturally Malawian women have for a long time been side-lined.  They are regarded inferior to men, which puts them at a disadvantage over men in many aspects of life. However women play major roles in society but are often overlooked. 

In order to promote the participation of women in the project, NASFAM will ensure that female Farmer Trainers (FTs) are fully involved. Female FTs will easily interact with their fellow female farmers and this is expected to increase women participation.

DRR Approach

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) approach is an all-embracing concept encompassing a systematic approach to identifying, assessing and reducing risks of all kinds associated with hazards and human activities. This approach encompasses the tripartite techniques of climate change adaptation, mitigation and disaster response. Climatic conditions are still the predominant factor affecting agricultural productivity and changes in these conditions have different severe effects. The DRR approach will ensure that climate change impact mitigation is tackled holistically and assist to enhance smallholder adaptive capacities to vulnerabilities.

Monitoring, Research and Learning

In order to ensure that the project remains relevant to the needs of beneficiaries, NASFAM will continuously monitor implementation and conduct periodic evaluations which will help with programme planning, review and ongoing modification for desired impact.

Project Duration

The Project will run for two years from 2019/2020 season to 2020/2021 season.