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Malawi Fish USAID
Climate change affects livelihoods of communities who depend on fishing
Harry Lipper

Malawi is already suffering from the negative effects of climate change.  Extremely high temperatures are occurring more frequently.  Precipitation patterns are changing.   In the coming decades, rainfall is likely to become more erratic and concentrated into heavy rainfall events that can cause flooding, temperatures will reach the heat threshold of some crops, and extended dry periods will become more common. 

These changes have major implications for human welfare and threaten to undermine development gains across sectors.  Malawi’s vulnerability to climate change is exacerbated by high population growth, rapid deforestation, and widespread soil erosion.

To address these challenges, USAID partners with the Government of Malawi (GoM) and a wide variety of Malawian institutions to advance Malawi’s low-emissions, climate-resilient development.  At the national level, USAID is working with the GoM to develop a strategy for combatting deforestation and improving forest governance.  Site-based interventions to address drivers of deforestation help generate livelihood opportunities for vulnerable households. 

Recognizing that many of the gravest threats to Malawians’ health and welfare from climate change involve agricultural production, USAID is investing in climate smart agriculture.  As a result of USAID’s support, the doubled-up legume system, which improves soil fertility, yields and nutrition, was adopted by Malawi’s Department of Agriculture and Research Services for promotion by extension agents and is rapidly being adopted by Malawian farmers. 

In the fisheries sector, USAID is working to strengthen fisheries governance and improve the livelihoods of fishermen whose livelihoods are threatened by climate change and overfishing.  Support for more efficient processing and transport techniques, community co-management and the creation of marine sanctuaries is reducing post-harvest losses while safeguarding Lake Malawi’s globally significant biodiversity.   


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Photos from USAID/Malawi's work in Environment, Agriculture, and Climate Change.