Malawi seek MK27 billion to feed 1.5 million people

The Malawi Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) says it needs at least MK27 billion (approximately US$30 million) to effectively provide humanitarian assistance to 1.5 million people who will be food insecure during the 2021/2022 lean season.

Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, Charles Kalemba, disclosed this on Wednesday during a preparatory meeting for the 2021/2022 Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Plan (LS-FIRP), which was held at Mponela in Dowa District.

Charles Kalemba – Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs

The plan follows the release of the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) report, which projected that 1.5 million people in all the 28 districts and four cities of Malawi will be food insecure during this lean season.

DoDMA, in collaboration with various humanitarian partners, developed the plan to guide the response interventions aimed at assisting the affected people.

Some people reportedly need food rations while others need money transfers to overcome the hunger, with government and donor partners expected to provide some or all of the required resources.

A cross section of participants to the preparatory meeting

Kalemba disclosed that the MK27 billion will, among other important things, cater for 35,000 tons of maize, money transfers, logistics and transportation.

“Government, all along, provides the maize from the strategic grain reserves. On the other hand, donors provide cash transfers. And in terms of food, it is not only maize. We will also have to distribute beans, cooking oil, sugar, salt and other assorted items,” said Kalemba.

The Mponela meeting, like two other preparatory meetings DoDMA organized in southern and northern regions, involved local council controlling officers and their subordinates who reportedly execute humanitarian response plans actively while DoDMA just coordinates.

Kalemba described the preparatory meetings as critical, saying they were aimed at putting stakeholders on the same page and spelling out their respective roles in order to avoid past mistakes.

Apparently, DoDMA and stakeholders have only two months to go to roll out the 2021/2022 Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Plan.

Kalemba added that assessment and identification of beneficiaries, which is the next step, will be “a scientific process” which will involve all stakeholders including chiefs and councillors in order to come up with deserving beneficiaries in the spirit of promoting fairness and transparency and accountability.

“We expect that whatever councils will receive, they will ensure that it is recorded and signed for. They will have to take note of what they are distributing and to who. We also expect them to use the finances properly. Financial reports will be required. Aid is strictly for the vulnerable. The response is based on need. Not everybody,” he said.

District Commissioner for Ntchisi, Lusizi Nhlane, commended DoDMA for organizing the planning meetings, adding that the 2021/2022 Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Plan needed to start and end on time for it to be helpful to the beneficiaries.

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