United Nations food agency, the World Food Programme has on Wednesday sent out an SOS on Malawi’s food crisis, frantically appealing for US$38 million, saying the situation is extremely dire.
In a statement, WFP says the situation has now reached unprecedented levels and the UN body is urgently looking for the US$38 million to buy food for 2.4 million facing starvation.
The statement comes barely a day after civil rights groups asked President Peter Mutharika to declare state of emergency on hunger.
However, minister of Agriculture Allan Chiyembekeza claims the country has 50, 000 metric tonnes in Admarc warehouses enough to feed the nation until the next harvesting season, a claim trashed by the Catholic church and some civil rights groups on food who have asked the government to show the media and the rights groups where the government is keeping the maize.
WFP says it is extending its relief operations in Malawi because people will harvest a month later than scheduled because they planted a month later than is normally case due to late rains.
The WFP says the late rains were due to El nino weather phenomenon.
National Food Reserve Agency executive director Nasimuko Saukira said the silos have a meagre 21000 metric tonnes for the WFP and needs replenishment.
Finance minister Goodall Gondwe said this week the government is looking for K3.5 billion to buy more maize for the starving Malawians, some of whom are literally sleeping on Admarc depots to buy cheap maize which costs at K5500 per 50 kg bag as opposed to vendors who are selling an average of K15000 the same bag.
And President Peter Mutharika said his government has been steady to find both short-term and long-term solutions to food shortages.
“My government appealed for humanitarian food assistance to the tune of US$146 million to avert the critical food shortages and so far, we have received support approximately US$100 million, with a shortfall of US$46 million. We are still looking for additional support to close the gap,” he said adding that with regard to climate change, Malawi government is ready to full participate in all action deliverables as per an agreement reached at the COP21 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Paris last year.
He cast hope over the Paris Agreement saying if well implemented the deal has the right key to mitigate effects of climate change that have affected Malawi’s economy over the decades.
Malawi has received K4.8 billion from Scottish government after the Peoples Republic of China also gave Malawi close to K7 billion for purchasing of additional maize for Malawians.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :