Over 2.6 million people in need of food assistance in Malawi

The Government of Malawi, together with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Development Partners have teamed up to provide food and cash assistance to over 2.6 million people facing severe food insecurity in Malawi during the current lean season.

The Government, through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) in collaboration with its humanitarian partners, has facilitated the development of the 2020/2021 National Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Programme to address the needs of the affected communities. The Response is aligned with the National COVID-19 Response Plan and anchored in the National Resilience Strategy (NRS) which aims to tackle root causes of food and nutrition insecurity such as over-dependence on rain-fed agriculture and lack of crop diversification.

“The increasing risk of climatic shocks worsens a vicious cycle of food insecurity,” says James Chiusiwa, Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs. “The Government is committed to help vulnerable households mitigate, manage and recover from the impacts of these shocks.” The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) has determined that 2.6 million food insecure people will require assistance during the 2020/2021 Lean Season. This population includes households from rural areas which experienced localized low levels of crop production, as well as people in urban areas who experienced loss of income due to the economic effects of COVID-19 pandemic. “WFP is grateful for International Donors’ support to the response. The support we received will help the Government of Malawi to reach some of the country’s most vulnerable people, who risk slipping further into hunger,” said Benoit Thiry, WFP Malawi Country Director.

James Chiusiwa, Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs

With resources mobilised both by the Government of Malawi and Donors (the Joint SDG Fund, as well as the Government of Norway, United Kingdom and United States of America), the response started in December 2020 and will run until March 2021. DoDMA is targeting all 28 districts and four cities of the country with WFP currently supporting provision of assistance in 12 districts. The Government has so far allocated 30,000 metric tonnes of maize from the Strategic Grain Reserve for the programme, while WFP will distribute cash so that people can buy food in the local markets.

The implementation of the Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Programme requires a total of USD 64.4 million (about MK48.6 billion). A total of USD 50.2 million (about MK 37.8 billion) has been made available, leaving a gap of USD 14.2 million (about MK10.8 billion) in order to reach the full food insecure population of 2.6 million in the 28 districts and four cities during the 2020/2021 Lean Season. DoDMA is appealing to partners, including the private sector, to technically and financially support the implementation of the programme