ISBN 9781920597092
Pages 32
Dimensions 254 x 178mm
Published 2013
Publisher Southern African Migration Programme, South Africa
Format Paperback

The State of Food Insecurity in Blantyre City, Malawi

by Asiyati Chiweza, Peter Mvula

Chronic food insecurity is considered to be one of the most important challenges facing the people and government of Malawi. Most attention tends to be given to the rural areas where the majority of the population live and where the prevalence of food insecurity is highest. However, Malawi is urbanizing at a rapid rate and those who move to the cities do not automatically become food secure. Urban food insecurity is likely to increase and therefore it is important for policy-makers to begin to think about this issue. AFSUN’s study of food insecurity in the city of Blantyre, Malawi’s industrial hub, formed part of its baseline survey of 11 Southern African cities. The study established that household dietary diversity is very low with most consuming a monotonous diet dominated by grain foods, especially maize. While the dependence on maize and its availability on the market means that absolute levels of food insecurity are lower here than in many other cities surveyed by AFSUN, there is also a clear seasonality to food security that coincides with the rural agricultural cycle. When maize prices rise, households immediately feel the pinch and levels of insecurity rise. Female-centred households, households with large family sizes, households that have lost a breadwinner through death, households with a sick member, and low-income households are more food insecure than the rest.

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About the Authors

Asiyati Chiweza

Asiyati Chiweza is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies, Chancellor College, University of Malawi. She has a PhD from Curtin University, Western Australia and an MA in Public Administration from Dalhousie University, Canada. She has many years of local and international consulting experience dealing with local citizen voice programmes, and other issues related to advocacy, gender analysis, citizen participation, decentralization and local governance.

Peter Mvula

Peter Mvula is a Senior Research Fellow with the Centre for Social Research, Chancellor College, University of Malawi. He has a PhD in Rural Development from the University of East Anglia and has done research and published in the fields of livelihoods, nutrition and food security, safety nets and the management and use of resources. His current research interests include rural livelihoods, safety and poverty.

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