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Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title The Hidden Threat of Aflatoxin in Malawi
URL https://www.worldfoodprize.org/documents/filelibrary/images/youth_programs/research_papers/2016_pape​rs/PhillipsAcademy_APinga_MA_0091D55815E61.pdf
Since its establishment as an independent nation in 1964, Malawi has faced challenges that have
continuously plagued similar developing African nations. Malawi suffers from the “cycle of poverty,”
where poverty is both a cause and consequence of malnutrition (Unite for Sight). More than half (52.4%)
of the Malawian population lives below the poverty line and 22.4% are “barely surviving” (UNIDO
Evaluation Group 35). These statistics are significant indicators of extreme hunger and malnutrition,
which in turn, further worsens poverty. More than a third of the Malawian population are undernourished
(FAO). Undernutrition, a type of malnutrition, is the lack of eating enough food with sufficient nutrients.
A major indicator of long term undernutrition is growth stunting, where a person’s full potential for
growth is impeded by inadequate absorption of essential vitamins and micronutrients due to poor diets
and/or poor health. Stunting in Malawi affects 42.4% of the population, the twelfth highest prevalence in
the world (International Food Policy Research Institute 120), while 61% of infants ages 18-23 months are
stunted (Malawi National Statistical Office and ICF Macro 11). These extremely high figures demonstrate
the severity of the nutritional situation and the immediate action required in order to achieve the 2030
Millennium Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Other factors supplementing this food insecurity include inadequate infrastructure, economic instability,
policy inconsistency, insufficient responses to disasters, and poor health and education that limit labor
productivity (The World Factbook). All these factors are basic and underlying drivers for malnutrition.
Addressing malnutrition, specifically undernutrition, is key in solving the poverty cycle.

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