NAPAS: Malawi CoP Lectures on Agriculture and Food Security Policies

NAPAS: Malawi Chief of Party Engages LUANAR, USA Students and a Development Partner on Agricultural, Food Security and Nutrition Policy Processes in Malawi
by Paida Mpaso, NAPAS: Malawi

The Chief of Party for the New Alliance Policy Acceleration Support (NAPAS: Malawi) Project, Dr. Flora Nankhuni delivered a lecture to postgraduate students pursuing Masters and PhD degrees in Aquaculture and Fisheries Science at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) on 12th February, 2018. The students are taking a course on Policy Analysis and Project Planning, taught by Professor Emmanuel Kaunda.

The lecture titled, Agricultural, Nutrition and Food Security Policy Processes in Malawi was delivered to acquaint the students with knowledge on policy development processes both at national and international levels.

For example, she touched on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which is an African Union (AU)-led initiative aimed at helping African countries achieve higher levels of economic growth through agriculture-led development. She also explained how the Government of Malawi has aligned its agricultural policies to the CAADP and has prioritized agriculture as a driver of economic growth while recognizing food security as a pre-requisite for economic growth and wealth creation.

In describing the policy process, Dr. Flora Nankhuni introduced the students to the Kaleidoscope Model, which was developed by researchers from IFPRI and Michigan State University (Resnick et. al 2015).

She described the main/underlying factors that influence policy change at each stage: the agenda setting; design; adoption; implementation; and evaluation and reform. Of particular interest was a demonstration of how beliefs and relative power of stakeholders influence adoption of policies. She used an example of the maize export ban that was removed in October 2017 only to be re-instated in February 2018 due to government’s strong belief that a shortage of food would occur if the export ban remained in place when the current dry spells and fall army worms are affecting maize yields. She also gave an example of how relative bargaining power of soya processors versus development partners caused a similar quick shift in placing and uplifting a soya export ban within a short period of time.

Some of the questions on the presentation included whether Fisheries stakeholders were adequately represented in development of the National Agriculture Policy (NAP) and the National Agricultural Investment Plan (NAIP).

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Dr. Flora Nankhuni, Chief of Party, NAPAS:Malawi, during the lecture. Photo by Paida Mpaso

In responding to the lecture, LUANAR professor, Dr. Emmanuel Kaunda said, “Our postgraduate students are taught courses like ‘Policy Development and Analysis’ which is very important. Policy is what drives development of a nation, and when one considers the experience of Dr. Flora Nankhuni in the policy arena, they will understand that she is a great resource to our country and students. My expectation was confirmed today when she delivered the lecture. She brought practical experience into theory and made national, regional and continental policies real to students.” Professor Kaunda also encouraged the students to keep abreast of current news so that they are aware of what is happening outside their world at LUANAR. This was emphasized, as none of them knew about the recently formulated National Planning Commission.

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Dr. Flora Nankhuni and the Deputy Director of Crops Dr. Eviness Nyalugwe with American University/College students at the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, in Lilongwe, Malawi. Photo by Joseph Kanyamuka

Earlier during the week, Dr. Flora Nankhuni also delivered two other presentations on Malawi’s Policies in Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition to the Japanese Ambassador to Malawi and her team, at the Japanese Embassy and to a group of 25 students from the United States of America (USA) that visited Malawi to learn about agricultural policy making, food security and agricultural decision making. Most of the discussions revolved around the Farm Input Subsidy Programme and its effectiveness, how smallholder farmers can effectively be engaged in commercialization efforts and on policy processes within the agriculture sector.