Malawi government has welcomed the humanitarian support by the World Bank to finance efforts to feed at least 6.5 million Malawians in need of relief food.
The World Bank said it had approved $174 million (about K128 billion) funding to help Malawians facing food shortages this year as a result of combined effects of drought and flooding experienced in the last growing season, especially in the Southern Region and parts of the Central Region.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said the World Bank support was a “welcome gesture.”
Gondwe said the drought recovery programme need was estimated at $500 million.
Out of World Bank’s $174 million package, $22.3 million will be a loan following calls by government for assistance in drought recovery after the devastating effects of El Nino which have left about eight million Malawians requiring food assistance, according to statistics from the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac).
It is estimated that the millions of Malawians will need at least 500 000 metric tonnes of maize to manage up to the next harvest period in April/May next year.
A statement from the World Bank in Washington DC indicates that a grant of $104 million will go towards the Malawi Drought Recovery and Resilience Project (MDRRP) and $47.68 million and $22 million towards the Malawi Social Action Fund (Masaf) IV and Strengthening Safety Nets Systems Project (SSNSP), respectively.
Richard Record, acting country manager for the World Bank in Malawi, said: “With Malawi’s economy and livelihoods highly dependent on agriculture, the current crisis creates opportunities to undertake reforms and resilience measures that will enable the country to emerge stronger. We are committed to help the country in this regard.”
Under the MDRRP, the funds would be used to buy maize amounting to $50 million enough to meet the needs of 1.6 million people.
National Food Reserve Agency has been tasked with buying the maize locally while World Food Programme would do the international procurement.
With the additional funding, the input for assets programme coverage would be increased from 15 to 24 districts, reaching about 200 000 beneficiaries with seed and fertiliser in return for working on feeder roads and repairing irrigation infrastructures.
In April this year, President Peter Mutharika declared the country a State of National Disaster to mobilise local and international help in the wake of poor maize harvest due to prolonged drought and flooding this year.
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