Enhanced agriculture emergency response to tackle the negative effects of El Niño in Malawi 2016

News and Press Release
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Objective: To sustain and improve the food security situation of smallholder farmers affected by the El Niño induced drought, to rebuild their capacity to engage in agriculture production and enhance coping mechanisms to strengthen their resilience to future shocks.

Key partners: Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development (MoAIWD), the District Agriculture Development Offices and NGO implementing partners.

Beneficiaries reached: Smallholder farmers’ households and members of the Agriculture Cluster, comprising mostly NGOs (both local and international) and government departments.

Activities implemented:

  • Led, with the MoAIWD, an Agriculture Cluster and developed the 2016/17 National Food Insecurity Response Plan.
  • Trained a total of 75 district and Extension Planning Area government staff and eight NGO staff on Integrated Water Management (IWM).
  • Conducted a Training of Trainers for 75 agricultural officers in IWM in three districts.
  • Distributed a total of 39 solar irrigation pumps, 1 130 treadle pumps, 109 sets of drip kits and 986 various types of water harvesting tools and materials.
  • Mapped current water harvesting/small-scale irrigation infrastructure and identified hotspots for flash floods and dry spells.
  • Trained 40 community leaders (chiefs and representatives) and 120 participants, including farmers, on community-based watershed management. Additionally 132 beneficiaries were trained on water harvesting, utilization and management of tools and equipment.
  • Organized seed fairs and distributed inputs using vouchers and other cash-based tools. In addition, each participant household received basal and top dressing fertilizers.
  • Distributed a total amount of 110 tonnes of seeds through seed fairs and a total of 60 000 bundles of sweet potato vines.


  • Strengthened national capacity for food security and nutrition, assessment, monitoring, analysis, mapping and coordination mechanisms used for evidence-based decision-making.
  • Strengthened the coordination and effective emergency response planning and implementation at national and district levels.
  • Reinforced agricultural emergency responses through the promotion of water harvesting technologies such as construction of dams and seepage wells.
  • Estimated production for the overall beneficiaries was as follows: 6 500 tonnes for maize; 3 600 tonnes for legumes; and about 4 000 tonnes of tubers.
  • Strengthened local economy through seed fairs as cash used for the purchase of seeds remained in the rural areas where agro-dealers were based.