Parliament committee questions experts’ assessment figures on food shortage

Parliament’s Agriculture committee has questioned the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) figures which put figures of Malawians needing food aid at 3.3 million, saying the numbers could be higher.

A hunger-hit community in Malawi waits for an opportunity to register for food rations

The committee chairman Joseph Chidanti Malunga said the situation on the ground is very different and grim from what the assessment committee found.

“The challenge on the ground is far beyond the statistics. The situation on the ground is far much worse,” said Chidanti Malunga.

Malunga and the parliamentary committee on Agriculture said this on Tuesday when the summoned the assessment committee over the figures of the people to be affected by food shortages.

However, assessment committee chairman Peter Simbani said the assessment figures were 100 per cent correct, rejecting demands by the agriculture committee to do another assessment.

“We are very accurate with our information, we are always very careful when doing the assessment,” said Simbani.

The report says Balaka, Nsanje and Blantyre are the most hit districts of food shortage.

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Statistically these figures don’t seem to add up. We have a thoroughly researched figure by the UN that indicated that 71% of the population is living well below the breadline. We have MVAC talking of only 20% of the population needing food aid. That’s like statistically incoherent. Either UN’s figures are overinflated or the MVAC numbers are grossly underestimated. This would indeed call for a reassessment. Something doesn’t add up.

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