The Japanese government has made a contribution of US$5 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for food assistance in Malawi as the country faces the worst food insecurity in a decade due to weather-related shocks.
The WFP says in a statement that most of the funds will go towards WFP’s relief operation that is reaching 2.4 million people made food insecure by a combination of devastating floods and prolonged dry spells which led to a bad harvest last year.
The Japanese support is critical at this peak time of the hunger season. Vulnerable families have exhausted their food stocks and, with food prices continuing to rise, their access to affordable and nutritious food from markets is increasingly limited.
“Japan is pleased to support WFP’s relief activities in Malawi,” says Japanese Ambassador Shuichiro Nishioka. “The funds will help to improve food security among Malawians experiencing food shortages and also among the refugees in the country. I sincerely hope this will help strengthen the resilience of Malawians, particularly the most vulnerable.”
This support enables WFP to continue providing the most food-insecure people with a range of assistance including maize, pulses and Super Cereal. Super Cereal, a fortified corn soya blend, is given to pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as children under the age of two – to prevent micronutrient deficiencies and malnutrition.
In addition to life-saving food assistance, the contribution from Japan will also support early-recovery activities and basic social protection interventions such as school meals. These enable children, particularly girls, to remain in school during times of food shortage when their parents would otherwise take them out of class to help find food for the household.
Investments in early-recovery and social protection activities are critical to maintain development gains in the face of shocks such as the El Niño-related drought. Part of the contribution from Japan will also go towards providing food assistance for refugees in Malawi.
“We’re grateful for this significant contribution and for our continued partnership with the Government of Japan,” says WFP Country Representative Coco Ushiyama. “While helping us meet the immediate needs of vulnerable families, this contribution is also helping to build a food- and nutrition-secure future for the people of Malawi.”
While the Government of Japan and other donors have been generous in their support, WFP still urgently requires US$35 million to continue full food and cash assistance through to the end of April.