The World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that it will suspend food assistance programmes in the country unless it manages to source funds to sustain the operations.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the United Nations (UN) agency says it needs at least US$38 million to continue helping hunger stricken Malawians, warning that failure to source the funds will result in suspension of cash distributions in March, while food distributions will be drastically reduced or even discontinued by mid-April.
“New contributions are urgently needed to ensure people get the assistance they need to make it through this period,” says WFP Country Representative Coco Ushiyama.
This is bitter news for Malawians who are relying on food aid as maize prices have skyrocketed and government is failing to supply cheaper maize to Admarc depots.
Since October WFP has provided food and cash assistance to help alleviate the country’s worst food insecurity in a decade, reaching 2.4 million people with life-saving food and cash assistance in 24 of the country’s 28 districts.
The agency’s operation is also being scaled up this month to include an additional 32,000 people identified by Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) as in need of food assistance.
WFP’s interventions have helped to ensure short term food security in the country but the agency says its efforts are being jeopardized by rising food prices and El Niño.
El Niño will also affect farmers in the country who normally harvest their maize in March as they will only be able to do so in April due to erratic rains.