UN’s special envoy to assess Malawi’s food situation

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter is expected in the country this Friday to, among other things, assess whether Malawians are able to realize their right to food.

De Schutter’s eleven day visit to Malawi is aimed at gathering information on whether the approaches being applied are doing enough to ensure food security both at household and national levels, according to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“It is essential to ask whether the existing approaches are doing enough to realize the right to food for all Malawians, including small-scale food producers and the urban poor, as the country prepares to launch a new phase of agricultural investment under the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition,” De Schutter explained in a statement seen by Nyasa Times.

De Shutter further said food insecurity remains high, affecting some two million Malawians, citing soil infertility as one of the causes of poverty and hunger in the country.

Oliver De Schutter: On information-gathering mission
Oliver De Schutter: On information-gathering mission

Malawi’s ambitious efforts to strengthen food security over recent years have been praised, most notable being its policy to increase domestic crop production by subsidizing inputs such as fertilizer and seeds. A 50 kilogram bag of fertilizer remains at a subsidized price of K500.

The Special Rapporteur’s visit, which will give particular attention to those who are in vulnerable situations, will be the first to the country by an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the right to food worldwide.

During his eleven-day visit, De Schutter will meet with Government officials and experts, representatives of civil society and the United Nations System in Lilongwe and in locations across the country.

The Special Rapporteur will present his preliminary observations on the visit at a press conference scheduled for Monday, 22 July 2013 at 10 am at Hotel Sunbird Capital, Lilongwe.

Olivier De Schutter was appointed the Special Rapporteur on the right to food in May 2008 by the United Nations Human Rights Council. He is independent from any government or organization.

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