President Peter Mutharika yesterday declared Malawi a state of national disaster as most parts of the country continue to experience dry spells and floods which have diminished hopes of a bumper harvest at the end of the 2015/2016 growing season.
The unfavourable weather conditions which have been induced by El Nino will lead to a 12.4 percent decline in maize production compared to last year.
As a consequence, Mutharika has made the declaration to enable well-wishers to seek funds which will be used to support people in need of humanitarian assistance.
The president has made the declaration in accordance with powers conferred upon in him by Section 32(1) of the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act, In a statement, Mutharika said the country will face a maize deficit of about 1,072,461 metric tonnes since the unfavourable weather conditions have resulted into severe crop failure across the country.
Due to the increased maize deficit, the president said it is expected that the number of people in need of food assistance in the 2016/2017 growing season will be higher than 3 million.
In order to avert the maize crisis, the ministry of agriculture has projected that Malawi will need 1,290,000mt to be used to re-stock grain reserves, to provide food relief, and to distribute in ADMARC depots.
Mutharika has since called on humanitarian organisations, individuals and the private sector to help government alleviate the suffering of people affected by the food shortage.
On its part, government will cash K21 billion from its drought insurance policy to start off the relief process and will use its remaining part of food items to distribute to the affected people.