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Breaking the cycle of poverty and food insecurity in Malawi

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Issues brief

Repeated crises of food insecurity and reliance on humanitarian assistance prompted discussions around 'breaking the cycle' in 2015. This paper reviews the actions of government, development partners and NGOs in resilience-building activities since this time.

agricultural inputs
Maize subsidies in Malawi often impede resilience building (courtesy of BRACC hub)

There have been improvements in data collection and targeting of humanitarian response, which makes the categorisation of food insecurity more transparent and actionable. There have also been advancements in the social protection system.

However, risk reduction and resilience building activities are often externally-funded (by development partners) and fragmented. Continued support for agricultural subsidies and failure to reform long-known and entrenched problems with marketing systems; together with lack of domestic budget support for risk reduction and resilience building are key problems. The paper concludes by highlighting the imperative of political will to embed the promising emerging practices.