Malawi is losing 1.7 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), which is about $22 million (K16 billion) on average every year, due to the combined effects of drought and floods, according to the United Nations Entity for Gender and Equality and the Empowerment of Women.
UN Women-Malawi monitoring and evaluation specialist Emma Gausi said in an interview last week that, for instance, in 2015 alone, 84 percent of Malawians who depend on rain-fed agriculture and other natural resource- based livelihoods were affected with a decline in maize output by about 30 percent.
She said: “What Malawi needs now are specific policy interventions. Malawi needs to stabilise food prices and attack food price seasonality and we need to introduce policies that must stabilise food supplies and reduce inter-seasonal food price variability.”
Gausi said there is need for the country to ensure that farmers are protected from weather -related shocks by using crop or weather insurance to protect farmers against erratic rainfall patterns.
Malawi paid a K2.9 billion ($4 million) annual premium for the drought risk cover with maximum annual benefit of $30 million (about K22 billion) meant to cushion the cost of recovery from the impact of El Nino pattern of rainfall.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe said in August that government is considering whether to buy a new drought insurance cover.
Last year, Malawi registered an estimated 30 percent deficit in crop output, rendering 8.5 million people food insecure. n