By the end of the 4.5 year Phase 1 of the Rooting out Hunger in Malawi with Nutritious Orange-fleshed Sweetpotato (OFSP) project over 190,000 households received OFSP planting material through a multiple partner approach. OFSP is being fully integrated into the Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN) effort to combat malnutrition at the community level.
The Government of Malawi (GoM) is committed to poverty reduction and has been monitoring poverty annually since 2005. Currently, the national percentage of persons falling below the poverty line is 39%, a marked improvement from the 50% found in 2005. However, rural poverty remains much higher (43%) than urban (14%) and poverty in the rural South (51%) significantly higher than in the center (41%) or the north (31%) of the country. Since agriculture is the major occupation in rural areas, getting this sector moving is critical for food security and poverty reduction.
Malnutrition among young children remains one of the biggest challenges in Malawi. Children aged 0–23 months are the most vulnerable group with a peak incidence of mortality and morbidity. In spite of the gains made in poverty reduction, levels of malnutrition remain high, with 47% of children under five years of age stunted, 59% having vitamin A deficiency, and 13% underweight. Infant mortality also remains high, with 112 deaths per 1,000 live births estimated for 2010. The situation is exacerbated by the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS among economically active adults, currently estimated at 12%.