APRA hit national news again with Malawi COVID19 report

Three weeks since the Malawian government was brought to task by the national press following an APRA brief on agricultural policy, the APRA Malawi team has featured in The Nation Paper once again.

Appearing under the headline “Covid-19 chokes food Systems, livelihoods” both in the newspaper edition and on their website, the news article highlighted a new APRA report on Impact of COVID-19 on Food Systems and Rural Livelihoods in Malawi. Written by APRA Malawi researchers Mirriam Matita and Masautso Chimombo, the report estimates the likely impact of the pandemic on food systems and livelihoods in Malawi.

The two-page report, is based on a random selection of 114 household heads involved in groundnut production in Mchinji and Ntchisi districts and other key informant interviews. The authors indicate that about 60 percent of farmers reported a decline in business activities, which means they could not raise enough income for their livelihoods.

The newspaper article, published on 20 October 2020, highlights from the report that there has been an increase in transport costs  as well as decline in number of traders coming to villages for farm produce purchases affecting incomes.

The article also emphasised that the significant decline in the availability of extension services that was show in the report, with 70 percent of respondents mentioning a lack of credit facilities, which could affect the outcome of the upcoming 2020/21 farming season.

APRA researchers Mirriam Matita (L), Blessings Chinsinga and Masautso Chimombo (R). Credit: Mirriam Matita

Both researchers responded to the media attention:

“… the Nation newspaper has for 5 consecutive years been winning print media house of the year in Malawi. It enjoys massive readership by both ordinary people, policy makers and politicians. It feels good to have our research product covered by them. This means we are building our name as emerging researchers, and this will open up more opportunities for us …”

Masautso Chimombo

‘… I am excited our work is finding space in local media and I hope it reaches those that need to make decisions to ease COVID impacts on small farmers…’ 

Mirriam Matita

The report was released alongside several other short APRA studies on how COVID19 is affecting food systems in different APRA countries. To access these reports, click here.

Access the new APRA COVID Malawi report, here

Cover photo credit: IFPRI