Population Issues in Malawi Essay

The fertility in the country is mainly considered to be high because most of the population is comprised of girls within the age of 18, which is within the haltering ages (SORE, 2012). The high fertility rates have an impact on the environment as well as food security. The high fertility rates affect food security within the households and of the nation as well. The high rate means that the number of children that a woman might bear is high hence increasing the demand for food. Households will need to adjust their spending on food or farming if new children are born so as to provide adequate amounts.

Therefore the efforts for the family to be food secure are undermined if there are possibilities that more children will be brought into the family. To the country’s food security, this means that there is need to have more foods available in the markets which can be saved in anticipation of such scenarios. However, considering the economy of Malawi and the amount of farming space available to people, the food security situation at household and national level is poor, hence the high fertility is a threat to food security. The environment in Malawi is also affected by the high fertility rates.

This is so in a way that, high fertility rates means that the population will likely increase thus more pressure is on the environment to support it. Considering that most people in Malawi are poor, the result is a great level of dependence on natural resources for food, energy, water and other household materials. This means that forests, grasslands and protected areas may encroached and cleared for purposes of settlement and agriculture. The result of this is habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity and land degradation.

High fertility rates will result in an increased pressure on the environment hence the country runs the risk of facing environmental degradation as another challenge to address in order to improve living standards of TTS citizens. Age distribution is the frequency of different ages or age group in a given population. It refers to the distribution or the number of individuals that are pre- reproductive, reproductive and post-reproductive . Let provides the distribution of the population according to age. Information is included by sex and age group. Age structure is useful in understanding and predicting population growth.

For instance, if you know the age of first reproduction and reproductive strategy of a population, If most of the individuals in the population are below the age of first reproduction, hen you can predict that in the near future, the population is likely to grow. However, if most of the individuals are beyond reproductive age, then you can expect the population to shrink. Therefore, from the 2013 estimates, the higher percentage is on the 0-14 years which is an age group which is not productive as far as development or economic importance is concerned,(the non productive age group also includes the 2. % of the 65 years and over and also large proportion of the 55-64 years which makes up the 3. 6% of the population as a rapidly aging population revised insufficient labor which is a major factor of production) (COM,2006). This entails that the larger proportion of the environment is dependent and as a result they will be risk of being food insecure the reason being that the producers are out numbered and they might not be able to satisfy the food requirements of the larger proportion that’s making the population more vulnerable to food insecurity issues.

Consequently, the age structure of this population will affect a nation’s key socioeconomic development. Minored to satisfy the consumption requirements of hose dependent non-productive group, the highly productive age structure might resort to other unsustainable farming practices due to less land for cultivation due to the growing population that are likely to result in environmental degradation I. E. Land degradation. The long term impacts of this land degradation will consequently result in food insecurity issues within house holds, regions or even at a national level.

While a youthful population represents the potential for a large labor force in the future, jobs must be available to avoid plunging more people into poverty. Low levels of education, lack of productive skills, and high rates of unemployment in Malawi result in limited opportunities for young people. Only 12 percent of those ages 14-17 attend secondary school (Notate, 2009). Family size describes the number of people that are part of a household and many large families in Malawi are prone to poverty but family sizes and composition vary from household to house hold and will greatly determine the type of family.

The close links between poverty and food insecurity in Malawi can be explained by a variety of factors. Around 85% of the populations work in agriculture, the majority Ewing smallholders producing first and foremost maize for home consumption. However, intense population pressure means that the average farm holding for smallholders is less than 0. 8 Hectares. Even with good maize yields, this is inadequate to produce enough food to feed the average family throughout the year.

Reliance on rain fed agriculture with an increasingly variable single season rainfall, plus extensive soil degradation over the past two decades, means that maize productivity has been declining as has maize production per capita. This has translated into declining calorie intake per capita. For example, between 1979 and 989 maize production per capita fell from 244 keg/per capita to 193 keg/per capita whilst maize consumption fell from keg/per capita to 163 keg/per capita (Kahn et al 1990).

Low productivity is compounded by the high cost of imported fertilizer, particularly since the removal of the fertilizer subsidy in 1994/95, making it unaffordable to many farmers. The extremely low levels of purchasing power in livelihood diversification difficult for most of the rural poor. Hence they are caught in a maize poverty trap, unable to move beyond subsistence maize Production and constantly facing the threat of food shortages.

Most families in Malawi fall in the category of extended families usually comprising of parents, children grandparents, uncles and other relatives living together. Large families will demand a lot of resources in order to satisfy their need for food and shelter hence the more the pressure on the environment. As said most Mammalians depend on natural resources for their daily needs because of the economic status, therefore families with a large number of people will require abundant resources in order to meet their needs.

For instance; there will be need to construct large or many houses so as to accommodate he household members re space is this will mean more space is required but also for food to be adequate there will be a need to expand the farmland since most ,Mammalians depend on subsistence agriculture. These will mean more space of land is required hence the result may be clearing of forested areas and cultivation on marginal lands which is risk to the environment. This is so because the pressure on the environment is going to be high.

Large families demand large amounts of food in order for everyone to be fed whether purchased or produced through agriculture as is the case with most Mammalian households. When food consumption is high it means that more food will need to be produced in order to cater for the demand in the country. The number of extended families in Malawi is high hence they require more food. The challenge that this has to the food security in the country is that with many extended families more food will be needed for direct consumption and storage of which considering the average land holding sizes is almost impossible for the households alone.

Even if the country may record large food crop harvests in a year the challenge is question posed is that can Malawi afford surplus which can be torte and used in times of emergencies which are characterized by high demand for food to be available. It is also mostly a challenge to the food security at household level because most Mammalian families do not have enough land to produce food for consumption which can be considered adequate.

The composition of most families in Malawi is in such a way that the father is the breadwinner hence he is responsible for ensuring that the household has the required materials to support their lives. This burden is further increased in large families because the number of people to provide for is high. This becomes a huge responsibility which one person cannot sustain in order to provide sufficient quantities of food for the large family especially where food is purchased rather than produced.

For farming households the pressure is also high because the one who provides for the family has to obtain enough resources/ income to purchase inputs for food production such as fertilizers, seeds and labor. Even though formal primary schooling in Malawi is free, large families are unable to afford the necessities needed for their children to attend school such as clothes hence resulting in high rates of school dropouts. The importance of educating all people, in order to achieve sustainable development and poverty reduction, is highlighted by Malawi development goals number two.

Further, an educated populace would contribute to the achievement of the rest of the Meds including ending poverty and hunger, gender equality, reduced infant and maternal achieving global partnerships. School drop has a two-fold effect on the environment. First, dropout reduces the number of students who have access to environmental education through formal schooling. Secondly, drop outs rely on the environment for arrival through low-skilled, natural resource based employment (such as selling charcoal). Large families also affect the environment in various ways.

Pressure on land and water resources in order to maximize yield to meet the meet the dietary needs of each and every member of the family leads into environmental degradation, land resources are exhausted due to poor agricultural practices such as cultivating on steep slopes and river banks and over application of inorganic fertilizers which pollutes the soil and ground water reserves and in cases of soil erosion the polluted oils are carried off to water reservoirs, polluting water bodies such as rivers in the process.