The Ministry of Agriculture has started engaging different players at regional and district level to discuss the state of food systems in their areas.
The first national dialogue took place in Lilongwe where the dialogues convener, who is also Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe admitted that Malawi’s food systems are under pressure.
The UN reports that continued pressure on the food systems have slowed down the realisation of the global development commitments embedded in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Speaking at the first regional dialogue in Mzuzu, acting director of Health Services at Mzuzu City Council Mabvuto Lupwayi said there is need to deal with challenges confronting food systems in the country.
He said: “It is inevitable that currently the pieces of the food systems puzzle no longer fit together; hence, threatening social cohesion, environmental sustainability and economic success.
“We must all support required change in our food systems at every stage of the food chain, from our farmers and fishermen, through to marketing, consumption and end-use.”
Karonga district commissioner Paul Kalilombe said disasters continue to negatively affect food production in the district.
“Above everything, we must make tough decisions and invest in productive sectors. These efforts must be owned by the people on the ground,” he said Kalilombe.
For his part Rumphi district commissioner Fred Movette observed that broken food systems are fast eroding the interest of young people to invest in agriculture and other associated industries.
Task team for the food systems summit dialogues chairperson Reedwell Musopole, who is also, deputy director of Planning in the Ministry of Agriculture said the dialogues are happening at the right time when his ministry is on course to commence the review of the National Agricultural Policy (NAP) as well as redesigning the National Agricultural Investment Plan (NAIP).
“Outcomes of these dialogues will be incorporated into the country’s agricultural policy realm to make sure that there is synergy and proper coordination in addressing sustainable food systems challenges,” he said.
Malawi is expected to present her report at the UN food systems summit in September this year.
The dialogues have been organised to reboot and enhance food systems in order to accelerate the implementation of the 17 sustainable development goals.