Digital Technology, Agricultural Transformation, and Climate Adaptation Stakeholder Workshop in Zomba, Malawi

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    01.08.23

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Digitalization of all sectors of any economy can increase productivity gains, and render those sectors more resilient to the negative effects of climate change. Thus, digitalization is even more important for the agriculture sector because climate variability directly impacts its activities.  

As a step towards building the resilience of the agriculture sector in Malawi, against climate change using digital technology, the Global Centre on Adaptation has partnered with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) to carry out an assessment of the status of digitalization of the agriculture sector in Malawi to understand. It is in this context that the International Water Management Institute has embarked on a series of stakeholder consultation workshops in Malawi. The most recent consultation took place in Zomba district in Southern Malawi, and was co-led by Dr Greenwell Matchaya, Dr Linda Chinangwa (a local collaborator for IWMI in this effort) and Bhekiwe Fakudze from IWMI. This is vital for Zomba district, which also suffered significantly from Cyclone Freddy and is prone to various climate risks. 

Delegates at a stakeholder consultation workshop in Zomba, Malawi, on 27 July 2023.

“I urge the participants to highlight the opportunities that may be available to upscale digital technologies and bring forth the recommendations on the opportunities that may be pursued to increase climate adaptation through digital technology,” said Dr Matchaya. He made the remark during the opening of the stakeholder consultation workshop in Zomba, Malawi, on the 27th of July 2023. The one-day stakeholder workshop brought together around 30 participants from farmer organizations, farmers, policymakers, the private sector, development partners and research organizations. The workshop aimed to determine the extent of digitalization of agriculture in Zomba and at the national level and how stakeholders can leverage on digitalization to adapt to climate change. The stakeholders had to take stock of the digital technologies that stakeholders use in Zomba to enhance climate adaptation and identify challenges and opportunities as well as potential impacts associated with adopting those technologies.  

The participants mentioned the need for the government, and other stakeholders to take an active role in investing in the adoption of some of the technologies to increase the trickle-down effect since most farmers look forward to what the government and other key stakeholders are offering. Furthermore, they appreciated the role played by individuals in investing in digital technologies for climate adaptation especially because some technologies are area-specific. During these discussions, participants frequently referred to the need for the use of drones in disaster management, especially in isolated or hard-to-reach communities during floods and other disasters. As participants head back to their communities, it is clear there is a business case to motivate for investments in the identified technologies as their adoption can be productivity enhancing. 

Blog Authors: 

  1. Bhekiwe Fakudze (Senior Research Officer, IWMI)
  2. Dr Greenwell Matcahya, (Senior Researcher and Project Leader, IWMI)

 

 

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