The United States government has donated K17 billion to Malawi for humanitarian food assistance.
Making the announcement, United States Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer said the donation is in response to the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee’s (MVAC) report that 6.5 million Malawians need humanitarian food assistance.
According to Palmer, some of the money will be used to purchase ready-to-use therapeutic food for HIV patients currently being treated with Anti-Retroviral Therapy-ART.
The US Diplomat said that the US Government has also reprogrammed US$12 million (K8.6 billion) of previously planned investments in agricultural development and climate change adaptation programs.
“The United States Government continues to stand by Malawians in their time of need. But, together we recognize that policy and market predictability are critical if Malawi’s farmers are to become entrepreneurs, if agribusinesses are to invest, and if Malawi is to transform its agriculture sector from a source of vulnerability into an engine for growth,” Ambassador Palmer said.
The Ambassador added that the United States will continue to work with the Government of Malawi to break the cycle of food insecurity by providing assistance to help Malawi honour its New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition commitments.
According to diplomat Palmer, this includes a review of the Control of Goods Act which has inhibited investment in food production, and the drafting of a Seed Bill that is consistent with Malawi’s SADC seed harmonization obligations to enhance farmer access to quality seeds from across the region.
“Reforms are urgently required to help avoid similar food shortages in the coming agricultural season caused by the unpredictability of Malawi’s maize markets.” added Palmer.
The additional assistance made available to Malawi brings the United States Government’s total contribution to the 2016/17 Food Insecurity Response Plan to nearly US$118 million (K85 billion), which is 30% of the plan’s US$395 million cost.
Due to floods and drought that hit the country during the last rainy season, almost half of Malawi’s population is experiencing food shortage.