Malawi has recently experienced an increased incidence of climate
change-related hazards. More droughts and floods have occurred in the
last decade (2000 - 2010) than in the past three decades before (1970 -
2000). Agriculture is one of the most vulnerable sectors and
consequently has suffered from the negative impacts of climate change.
As a result, communities, NGOs and the government of Malawi are adapting
(adjusting to continue deriving benefits) to the changing conditions in
order for Malawian farmers and their families to survive, since their
livelihoods are dependent on agriculture.
This adaptation is inevitable and will add a cost to the national
economy and households. To successfully calculate this there is a need
for proper planning and costing of adaptation strategies at household,
community and national level. Currently, the exact costs of adaptation
are not yet known hence this study was undertaken to investigate what
adaptation measures are currently available in the maize subsector in
Chikhwawa District in the Lower Shire Valley of Malawi and how much it
will cost at household, community and national level to continue to
carry out such activities. The calculation is based on climate
projections that are likely to happen in Chikhwawa in the next 50 years.
The study revealed that communities are already coping with climate
change through a number of strategies including: use of early and
drought-resistant varieties, irrigation systems, selling of assets,
winter cropping and diversification. Regarding climate projections, it
is expected that the temperatures in Chikhwawa will increase by 3°C by
2065, which will translate into having more days in a month with a mean
temperature of above 32°C. It is also expected that drier conditions
will prevail in the future (2046 - 2065).
In terms of costs, Chikhwawa will require about US$55,034,932 (over five
years) in the maize subsector to adapt to climate change. The results of
the study suggest that communities and government should start planning
for the subsector bearing in mind the likely scenarios. The study
recommends that research into drought-resistant varieties, investment in
extension and training, as well as investment in irrigation should be
Matiya, G.; Lunduka, R.; Sikwese, M. Planning and costing agricultural adaptation to climate change in the small-scale maize production system of Malawi. International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London, UK (2011) 63 pp.
Planning and costing agricultural adaptation to climate change in the small-scale maize production system of Malawi.