Malawi Government considers phasing out relief food distribution

Blantyre — Malawi government and other stakeholders are currently undertaking a vulnerability assessment exercise to determine the state of household food insecurity as it considers to phase out the targeted food distribution to hunger stricken families that started last year. Government is satisfied with people’s harvest hence no need for further food distribution.

In May last year, government in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP) started distributing relief food to food insecure households affected by hunger following the release of a report by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment (MVAC) indicating that over 1.6 million families had insufficient food and required immediate assistance.

The number of the affected households was later revised in October, 2012 to over 1.9 million when MVAC carried out an update assessment of the hunger situation.

However, Ministry of Economic Planning and Development Deputy Director for Development Division who is also the Ministry’s Public Relations Officer, Jollam Innocent Banda has said that though food security always improves at household level during harvest period, the Ministry and MVAC officials were on the ground to ascertain the extent of food insecurity.

“Using the Household Economy Approach (HEA), the Ministry together with stakeholders is conducting the vulnerability assessment exercise which will provide information on the household food security situation in the country,” said Banda further explaining that the approach allows for a systematic analysis of the predicted effects of a hazard or multiple hazards on household livelihood assets.

Food distribution to stop

Food distribution to stop

According to Banda, the exercise that started three weeks ago is expected to windup end this month.

The ministry’s assessment comes at a time when the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has just released the 2012/13 second round national agriculture production estimates indicating that the country will this year realize a maize surplus of 358, 804 metric tonnes.

The second round estimates are lower than the first round estimates by almost 50 percent as the difference stands at 381, 196mt.

The maize surplus is part of a status report that has predicted excess harvest in other crops including rice, groundnuts and crops under the beans family.

Meanwhile, inside sources at the Department of Disaster Preparedness have indicated that government is contemplating phasing out food distribution to vulnerable households following the onset of the harvest period and the agriculture ministry’s latest estimates.



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