The Department of Disaster Management Affairs has engaged various stakeholders to discuss possible relief food distribution to vulnerable households which are likely to be affected by hunger this year.
In its National Food Security Forecast for April this year to March 2014, the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) projected that over 1. 4 million people will be food insecure at a household level in seven districts in the Central Region, 11 in the South and three in the North which will also be the most affected.
The department’s Principal Secretary Jeffrey Kanyinji said government is consulting various players to determine its next course of action in providing food aid to the affected people.
“Basically we are just gathering information and ideas,” he said.
Kanyinji said people will know the outcome of the discussions, which will likely determine government’s next course of action, by mid next week.
It is estimated that government requires 57 346 metric tonnes of food aid to feed the affected population.
In the October 2012 forecast, Mvac projected that over two million people would be food insecure requiring 84 811 metric tonnes of food aid including maize.
Between August 2012 and January this year, government contributed 72 466 tonnes of food aid to World Food Programme, a United Nations arm in the country that spearheads relief food distribution to vulnerable people for sustenance during the lean period.
Food shortage has been attributed to the late onset of rains, early cessation of rains, erratic rains, prolonged dry spells and flooding that characterised the 2012/13 growing season.
The affected districts include Karonga, Mzimba and Rumphi in the Northern Region; Dedza, Dowa, Kasungu, Mchinji, Nkhotakota, Ntchisi and Salima in the Centre and Balaka, Blantyre, Chikhwawa, Chiradzulu, Phalombe, Machinga, Mangochi, Mwanza, Neno, Nsanje and Zomba in the South.