142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Talking with Malawian youth about food insecurity: Policy implications

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 : 12:45 PM - 1:00 PM

Terri Ballard, DrPH , Statistics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, Rome, Italy
Evance Kazembe, BA economics , Planning Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Lilongwe, Malawi
Christopher Manyamba, PhD Candidate-Rural Devpt Planning (Food Security) , Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development, Institute for Food, Nutrition and Well Being, Pretoria, South Africa

Food insecurity is high in the Malawian population but youth aged 15-24 were 20% less food insecure than older adults in 2013. Food insecure youth were less likely to have secondary education than other youth. In Malawi, urbanization is low, meaning that youth may remain food insecure and living in rural areas. The policy environment reveals important gaps in improving opportunities for youth, thus perpetrating the intergenerational cycle of poverty and household food insecurity and putting population nutritional status at risk.


Nutritionists from the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO carried out a qualitative study on rural and peri-urban adults and youths about different experiences with food insecurity.


Interviewed youths, whether dependents or household heads, demonstrated cognitive awareness of how food insecurity is experienced and how they can assume responsibility themselves for managing food resources. When asked how, strategies to boost household economic activities were mentioned such as augmenting household income from diversifying own agricultural production or switching to cash crop farming and other agricultural strategies. Only a few mentioned pursuit of education to alleviate food security concerns.


Policy makers at all administrative levels should talk with youth about how they experience food insecurity and how they view their prospects for the future, with policy implications for better vocational training, particularly in agriculture, and promotion of higher education. Age-specific data on food insecurity will assist in formulating sustainable approaches to address unemployment, food insecurity and poverty among youth who represent future parents and wage earners.

Learning Areas:

Biostatistics, economics
Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Explain the policy relevance of producing age-specific prevalence rates of food insecurity Discuss several means to interrupt the inter-generational cycle of household food insecurity and poor nutrition in Malawi

Keyword(s): Nutrition, Food Security

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a research collaborator on a study revolving around the Youth in Malawi and Food Insecurity Experiences. My interest in the area of study stems from my professional career path at the time of study, when I was an economist in the Planning Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in Malawi. The topic at hand also revolves around my personal interest on developing strategies of alleviating food insecurity in Malawi.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.