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Droughts and floods in Malawi

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  • Pauw, Karl
  • Thurlow, James
  • van Seventer, Dirk

Abstract

Malawi suffers frequent droughts and floods. In an economy that is heavily dependent on the agricultural sector, it is crucial to understand the implications of these extreme climate events. Not only are rural livelihoods affected due to the severe impacts on the agricultural sector, but nonfarm and urban households are also vulnerable given the strong production and price linkages between agriculture and the rest of the economy. This study uses a general equilibrium model to estimate the economywide impacts of drought- and flood-related crop production losses. Climate simulations are based on production loss estimates from stochastic drought and flood models. Model results show that the economic losses due to extreme climate events are significant: Malawi loses 1.7 percent of its gross domestic product on average every year due to the combined effects of droughts and floods. This is equivalent to almost US$22 million in 2005 prices. Given their crop choices, it is smaller-scale farmers and those in the flood-prone southern regions of the country who are worst affected. However, urban and nonfarm households are not spared. Food shortages lead to sharp price increases that reduce urban households disposable incomes. This study makes an important contribution by estimating the economywide impacts of extreme climate events. However, this is only the first step toward designing appropriate agricultural and development strategies that explicitly account for climate uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Pauw, Karl & Thurlow, James & van Seventer, Dirk, 2010. "Droughts and floods in Malawi," IFPRI discussion papers 962, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:962
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Benin, Samuel & Thurlow, James & Diao, Xinshen & McCool, Christen & Simtowe, Franklin, 2008. "Agricultural growth and investment options for poverty reduction in Malawi:," IFPRI discussion papers 794, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Löfgren, Hans & Harris, Rebecca Lee & Robinson, Sherman, 2001. "A standard computable general equilibrium (CGE) model in GAMS," TMD discussion papers 75, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Horridge, Mark & Madden, John & Wittwer, Glyn, 2005. "The impact of the 2002-2003 drought on Australia," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 285-308, April.
    4. Boyd, Roy & Ibarrarán, Maria E., 2009. "Extreme climate events and adaptation: an exploratory analysis of drought in Mexico," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(03), pages 371-395, June.
    5. Dorward, Andrew & Chirwa, Ephraim & Kelly, Valerie A. & Jayne, Thomas S. & Slater, Rachel & Boughton, Duncan, 2008. "Evaluation Of The 2006/7 Agricultural Input Subsidy Programme, Malawi. Final Report," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 97143, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    6. Stephen Devereux, 2007. "The impact of droughts and floods on food security and policy options to alleviate negative effects," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 37(s1), pages 47-58, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ivana Logar & Jeroen Bergh, 2013. "Methods to Assess Costs of Drought Damages and Policies for Drought Mitigation and Adaptation: Review and Recommendations," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 27(6), pages 1707-1720, April.
    2. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Go, Delfin S. & Maliszewska, Maryla & Osorio-Rodarte, Israel & Timmer, Hans, 2015. "Stress-testing Africa's recent growth and poverty performance," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 521-547.
    3. Phiri, Innocent Pangapanga, 2011. "Modelling farmers’ choice of adaptation strategies towards climatic and weather variability: Empirical evidence from Chikhwawa district, Southern Malawi," Research Theses 134489, Collaborative Masters Program in Agricultural and Applied Economics.
    4. Breisinger, Clemens & Zhu, Tingju & Al Riffai, Perrihan & Nelson, Gerald & Robertson, Richard & Funes, Jose & Verner, Dorte, 2011. "Global and local economic impacts of climate change in Syria and options for adaptation:," IFPRI discussion papers 1091, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Oktaviani, Rina & Amaliah, Syarifah & Ringler, Claudia & Rosegrant, Mark W. & Sulser, Timothy B., 2011. "The impact of global climate change on the Indonesian economy:," IFPRI discussion papers 1148, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Douillet, Mathilde, 2012. "Trade and agricultural policies in Malawi: Not all policy reform is equally good for the poor," MPRA Paper 40948, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Mathilde Douillet, 2012. "Trade policies and agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa: Comparative analysis in a Computable General Equilibrium framework," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/45eb019724s, Sciences Po.
    8. Al-Riffai, Perrihan & Breisinger, Clemens & Verner, Dorte & Zhu, Tingju, 2012. "Droughts in Syria: An Assessment of Impacts and Options for Improving the Resilience of the Poor," Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 1-29, February.
    9. Cook, Aaron M. & Ricker-Gilbert, Jacob E. & Sesmero, Juan P., 2013. "How do African households adapt to climate change? Evidence from Malawi," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150507, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    agricultural sector; CGE Modeling; Droughts; floods; Gross Domestic Product (GDP); households; Livelihoods; Poverty;

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