Climate Change and Food Crisis
Malawi, one of the poorest countries in southern Africa, was severely affected by recent climate change. The country faced its worst food crisis in its history due to two major consecutive climate shocks, including catastrophic floods in early 2015 and subsequent El Niño-induced drought from late 2015 through 2016. The President of Malawi declared the national state of disaster in April 2016. In response, the United Nations World Food Programme carried out emergency humanitarian food assistance targeting over 6 million people, about 40% of the country’s population.
The food crisis was exacerbated by weak infrastructure in place. For example, the scale of the food problem, which could have been otherwise brought under control, was further complicated by lack of irrigation in the country. Agriculture was mostly rain-fed in Malawi, making the crop season highly vulnerable to rainfall fluctuations. Non-commercial smallholder farmers, who contributed 70% of the overall national agricultural sector, could not afford to own any irrigation schemes, and hence, they were limited to grow crops once a year only.  For the 2015-2016 harvest season, the only annual crops were completely damaged by the El Niño drought.
Role of Mediator
In an underdeveloped country like Malawi, people struggle more than you can possibly imagine. Poverty is predominantly rural as access is a challenge in many ways. Those who live in remote areas do not have access to funds, access to markets, or in most cases both, which all hinder them from securing sufficient food.
Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) plays an important role in the food supply chain in Malawi. ADMARC is a state-owned company that serves as a monopoly in purchasing maize, the staple food of Malawi, from farmers in efforts to control price fluctuations. Especially during the time of low production and rising prices, ADMARC sells rationed maize at a lower price than the market across the country, providing access to maize for low-income households in rural areas. 
Malawi had an extremely challenging crop season due to the drought during 2015-2016, which ended with an anticipation of national food deficit. The situations were worsened when ADMARC depleted maize stock in most of its warehouses, causing anxiety and unrest among the rural population. People formed long queues at ADMARC depots even before the sunrise, desperately needing maize to get through the difficult time until the next year’s harvest.
To alleviate the food shortage issues, the Malawian government authorized ADMARC to import additional maize from abroad. The government initially wanted to source maize imports from surrounding countries including South Africa and Zambia. However, the El Niño drought affected those other countries in the region as well, leaving almost no surplus there and making them look around for additional imports. That added to the difficulty in ensuring sufficient maize for Malawians and forced ADMARC to look elsewhere including Romania, Brazil and Mexico. 
In addition, ADMARC urged commercial maize growers with irrigation capacity to grow maize in the dry season. As a short-term solution, ADMARC could only rely on commercial farmers to raise production urgently. The government also planned to strengthen existing irrigation schemes in an attempt to replenish ADMARC stocks with additional maize production. 
Seeking Sustainable Solutions
With current trends in climate change, the government needs to address possibilities of future food crises and to prevent stock-outs at ADMARC warehouses. In the medium to long term, the government plans to consider increasing crop production during the dry season, which would require reviving long abandoned irrigation schemes as well as constructing brand new ones.
However, lack of financial resources is a big concern. As a country with one of the lowest per-capita GDP’s in the world, Malawi has a tight national budget. Total financial requirements to construct and maintain infrastructure are awfully large and almost forbidding for the country. Due to the financial limitations, the government can only implement irrigation projects in phases at the moment, and it will take a long time to cover the entire country. 
In the meantime, the government should explore other solutions within given resources. One quick fix is to plant drought-resistant crop seeds such as sweet potatoes. Still, switching staple food to such crops will not be an easy task in typical households.
And lastly, you may want to think in a big picture: is ADMARC serving as an appropriate social safety net to address food supply chain issues in Malawi?
 World Food Programme in Malawi. Standard Project Report 2016. http://www1.wfp.org/operations/200692-responding-humanitarian-needs-and-strengthening-resilience accessed November 2017.
 ADMARC LIMITED. http://www.admarc.co.mw/ accessed November 2017.
 “Malawi Hunger Crisis: ADMARC Tells Malawians Not To Panic”. October 31, 2016. The Maravi Post. http://www.maravipost.com/malawi-hunger-crisis-admarc-tells-malawians-not-panic/ accessed November 2017.
 Khunga, Suzgo. “Govt Defends Maize Imports”. May 25, 2016. The Nation Online. http://mwnation.com/govt-defends-maize-imports/ accessed November 2017.
 Shamu, Henry. “Irrigation In Malawi”. January 18, 2016. The Nation Online. http://mwnation.com/irrigation-in-malawi/ accessed November 2017.