District Civil Society Organizations (CSO) from Dowa district have lamented the overarching focus on agriculture, saying it overshadows efforts to address climate change impacts that the country is facing.
Speaking during a meeting, which was organized in Dowa district between the Dowa CSO network and the civil society network on climate change (CISONECC), the subnational actors expressed concern with what they claimed was inclusion of climate change issues in project proposals to win donor support.
“When we are developing proposals, we use catchy words like resilience building just to lure the donor without properly following through with implementation on the ground”, said Martin Chikumba, an Officer for CADECOM in Dowa
CISONECC Programmes Manager, Ruth Likambale, concurred with Chikumba, observing that the agriculture sector is given more focus, even at national level, which the network has also been lobbying for the same priority to be given to the environment, climate change and disaster risk management sector.
“Agriculture is seen as a key sector even at national level and it overshadows the environment and climate change sector,” said Likambale.
The agriculture sector has been among three key priority areas for the government, receiving a larger percentage of the national cake together with sectors of health and education in the previous two consecutive fiscal years. Meanwhile, while the climate change sector receives less than 1% of the national budget allocations.
The agriculture sector has been, however, one of the sectors affected the most by the impacts of climate change with Tropical Storm Ana washing away approximately 71,716 hectares (ha) of the cropped area belonging to 91,016 households.
This year, most parts of the country have been affected by heavy storms and hailstorms which have affected crop fields.
With the 2023/2024 budget yet to be presented, all eyes are on the financial prioritization of the environment, climate change, and DRM sector if Malawi is to indeed be a climate-resilient nation.
The meeting was convened by CISONECC and DAPP Malawi under the Enhancing Access and Participation in Climate Change Policy Development and Implementation Project which is being supported by the Commonwealth Foundation.