Over 3.3 million people are struggling to get food in Malawi, government says.
According to a press statement by the Secretary to Treasury Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Ben Botolo, government requires MK20.77 billion to provide humanitarian assistance for the affected people.
A food security assessment carried out by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) shows that 3,306,405 people residing in rural areas will not be able to have food during the current consumption season which started in April 2018 and will end in March 2019.
The figure represents 18 percent out of the total projected national population which is at 17,931,637. The number of hunger victims this year has increased from 1,043,000 people during the 2017/18 consumption period.
“The increase has been a result of decreased agriculture production during the 2017/18 agriculture season due to unfavourable weather conditions characterised by extended dry spells which caused moisture stress in almost all districts. In addition, maize production was affected by Fall Army Worm infestation. The affected population is across the country with varying degrees of severity by districts,” says the statement.
Government has since pegged the total humanitarian food required to support the affected people at 138,488 Metric Tonnes of maize with an estimated cash value of about MK20.77 billion.
In the statement, Botolo has assured Malawians that ADMARC and the National Food Reserve Agency are ready for any eventualities as they are holding enough stocks.
ADMARC is also procuring maize from smallholder farmers to ensure that the commodity is available in all its selling points, so as to stabilise the prices of maize, in particular during the lean period.
To control effects of unfavourable weather conditions, government says it is working with stakeholders to implement safety nets and resilience building interventions across the country.