Climate Change to reduce rainfall in Malawi

With no irrigation, one rainfall season, Malawi faces a massive challenge to survive as a nation in the next 60 years when rainfall is predicted to be reduced and temperatures reaching their all time highs.

An unpublished study conducted by government two years ago, predicts that Climate Change will reduce rainfall in the next 60 years and adversely affect agriculture, the country’s mainstay.

The agriculture sector in Malawi employs about 80 percent of the labour force, 70 percent of whom are smallholder farmers. Smallholder farming is predominantly subsistence and rain-fed, with low irrigation and one rainfall season.

According to the study, mean cumulative rainfall for the period 2010-2075, during the rainfall period will decrease over most parts of the country ranging from -4.8 to -0.7 percent in annual rainfall changes.

The rainfall change is predicted to be worse in the southern region of the country the Lower Shire Valley, Liwonde National Park, around Lake Chilwa among other areas in the region. the northern region, the study says, will experience little change.

“The general trend is that the mean monthly rainfall will decrease with time.”

As rainfall decreases, mean growing season temperatures are predicated to increase during the same period.

From baseline values (21.7-26.5 Celcius), most markedly around Ngabu (22.5-24.7 Celcius) and Bvumbwe (24.6 -26.5 Celcius) between the period 2010 and 2075.

These raise in temperatures will affect livestock production in the country. New diseases, such as the deadly rift valley fever, will be emerge. Droughts and high temperatures as predicated by the MAGGIC/SCENGEN model for the years 2010,2020,2050,and 2075, will affect the availability of of forage and feed grain for livestock impacting negatively on on their potential to reproduce.