Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Joseph Mwanamvekha has launched a once-off maize distribution exercise targeting 432 729 food insecure households in 26 districts across the country which will take a month.
Mwanamvekha launched the exercise in Traditional Authority (T/A) Chigaru in in Blantyre on Thursday and said main objective of the exercise is “to save and sustain lives of food insecure households” while government is waiting for a final report from the Malawi Vulnerability Assessments Committee on the country’s food situation.
He said the exercise follows the prolonged dry spells and fall armyworms outbreak experienced during the 2017/18 farming season.
Mwanamvekha sais one the MVac report is finalized, government through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs, will coordinate the development of a national response plan and distribute relief maize to food insecure households throughout the lean period – October to March
He said a total of 432 729 bags of maize (21 636.5 tonnes) will be distributed to 432 729 households in 26 districts with each household getting a 50 kilogramme bag of maize..
Manamvekha said preliminary MVAC findings are projecting that 3.3 million people in the country will be at risk of hunger during the lean period.
He added that the preliminary findings are estimating a food deficit of 22 percent due to climatic shocks such as dry spells, floods and fall army worms which hit most parts of the country during the 2017/2018 growing season.
“After we have done five estimates, it is expected that the country is going to have a food deficit this year. However the beauty is that we have carryover stock from last year. That carryover stock plus this year’s stock will actually give a surplus though not much.
“But we do not know what the 2018/2019 crop season may bring so we need to plan better and in a manner that Malawians are not heavily affected and make sure that the population will be secured,” he said.
Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, Ernest Kantchentche asked the DCs and DADOs to ensure efficiency in the relief maize distribution exercise by prioritizing households which are at risk of having no food and are least able to cope.