The Malawi government has set aside $50 million to assist people who will be hit by hunger this year until the next farming season.
President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika revealed this in Lilongwe Wednesday, when he launched the Food Insecurity Response Plan whose objective is to direct efforts in assisting over 6 million Malawians who are facing hunger due to poor harvests.
During the 2015-2016 farming season Malawi was hit by a myriad of climate change challenges among them dry spells and floods who led to a drastic reduction in crop yield.
Estimates from the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee-MVAC indicate that 6.5 million Malawians will need food assistance from July this year till March next year.
Speaking during the launch of the Food Insecurity Response Plan, the President said since he declared a state of national disaster in April this year, up to 116 million dollars has already been collected, of which 50 million dollars is a contribution from Government.
“The total budget for the 2016/2017 National Food Insecurity Response Plan is US$380 million. There is still a funding gap of US$ 313.5 million,” he said.
According to President Mutharika, the Food Insecurity Response Plan identifies area of food security, agriculture, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, health, education and protection as the key priorities for immediate assistance.
“Our Response Plan is intended to address the needs of affected communities holistically. The Plan further outlines measures for coordination and regular monitoring to ensure that we are everywhere and on the pace of developments on the ground,” added the President.
Through the Response Plan, government intends to among other things, provide immediate life-saving and life-sustaining assistance to drought-affected people by providing essential foods, commodities and health focussed interventions;
“Government wants to support the restoration of livelihoods of drought-affected people through linkages with on-going resilience-building activities,” President Mutharika said.
He has since appealed to all development partners and Governments, Private Sector, Multinational Corporations, Non-Governmental Organisations and all people of good will to support the implementation of the response plan, whether in cash or in kind.
In her speech, UN acting resident coordinator Amakobe Sande requested government to provide the necessary leadership for ensuring that the National Food Reserve Agency-NFRA and ADMARC make optimal use of the scarce public resources and collaborate fully with all humanitarian
“Malawi will persevere and could even come out of the present crisis stronger than a nation so long as it uses this as an opportunity to move the agricultural and nutrition agenda forward,” she declared.
US Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer said the response plan need to be tackled in a transparent and proactive manner to ensure a quick flow of information to and among all partners.
The second round of 2015/2016 crop estimates assessment conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development indicated maize production deficit of 790,000 metric tones. The food shortage has affected 8.4 million people.
Out of the 8.4 million affected people, 6.5 million people, which is 39 percent of the population, require emergency food assistance from July 2016 to March 2017.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :