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Gender and Nutrition: interview to Ambassador Brian Bowler and Dr. Grace Malindi

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How has Malawi come to be regarded as a food-secure country? This side event of the 56th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (2012) is an interview with Dr. Grace Malindi, Technical Director of the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM) and Malawi’s UN Ambassador Brian Bowler. They speak about improvements being made to nutrition and food security in Malawi and Southeast Africa, and the crucial roles of civil society organisations and rural Malawian women. According to Ambassador Bowler, Malawi is being used as a role model due to its achievements in food and nutrition security. Rural women are the most important sector making Malawi food secure as they are responsible for the production of the majority of food grown and consumed in Malawi. The work being done with rural women includes a focus on increasing the nutritional count; the government raised the nutritional intake from around 600 to nearly 2200 calories per day, and aims to reach 2500. Obtaining the funding to fully implement Malawi’s Nutrition Strategic Policy remains a challenge. Ambassador Bowler also stresses the importance of partnerships with civil society to implement policies, and expresses his support for the government of Malawi’s work with NASFAM, which translates food and nutrition policies into practice. Their work on the ground includes increasing awareness of sustainable farming – through land management, rain harvesting, fish farming, etc. Malawi’s current Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government came into power in 2004 amidst famine and drought. The following year, the government launched a farm subsidy programme, which has been key to Malawi’s attainment of food security. The country is now able to sell excess food to organisations such as the World Food Programme (WFP), which last year procured $10,000,000 worth of produce from Malawi. For more information on NASFAM, see

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