At least 21,000 hunger stricken households in Balaka district are expected to receive assistance from the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) under the 2022/2023 lean season food insecurity response programme.
The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) shows that over 3.2 million people across the country are to be food insecure with the food deficit ranging from 3 to 5 months.
Speaking to Malawi24, Balaka district’s relief and rehabilitation officer Blessings Kamtema said DoDMA with support from the World Food Program (WFP) will from this month roll out a six month Social Cash Transfer Program in Balaka where beneficiaries will be taking home a monthly amount of K25,000.
Kamtema said to ensure only the deserving households are reached out, beneficiaries will be drawn from a United Beneficiary Registry (UBR).
”To ensure that the program is successful, we have enhanced direct contact with the beneficiaries on the ground so that we are able to target the right beneficiaries and also to avoid some of the challenges that comes along during the exercise,” he said.
Meanwhile, Balaka District Council Chairperson, Pharaoh Kambiri has said that there is need to rectify concerns and glitches that affect in such programmes.
”We appreciate our partners for their interventions aimed at rescuing our people from the current hunger situation in the District. Let me highlight that the situation in Balaka is life-threatening and if you look around, most people are relying on mangoes for their daily survival,” Kambiri said.
The council chairperson added that the number of beneficiaries targeted for the exercise is just too low, as compared to the food insecurity in the district.
He further faulted the use of UBR in identifying beneficiaries which was generated about 6-7 years ago, labelling the database as outdated and not responding to the current situation.
The MVAC report is indicating that most parts of the country registered poor yields in the last farming season among other things due to cyclones Ana and Gombe which disrupted many sectors including agriculture.
It shows that harvests for Balaka dwindled with 19% during the last agriculture season.
Currently, a 50 Kilogram bag of maize is selling at K25,000 in the district.
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