The Malawi government and UN World Food Programme (WFP) have launched a US$80 million food hamper and cash voucher assistance programme to assist more than 2.6 million people facing hunger between now and the next harvest expected in March/April.Under the 2020/21 National Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Programme, which is being jointly managed by the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) and WFP, will see food-insecure households in Malawi’s 28 districts and four cities receiving a combination of maize grain and cash vouchers every month.
The Malawi government has 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 market.
The government, through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) in collaboration with its humanitarian partners, has facilitated the development of the 2020/21 National Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Programme to address the needs of the affected communities.
The target communities includes households from rural areas which experienced localized low levels of crop production during the 2019/20 farming season as well as people in urban areas who experienced loss of income due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
DoDMA chief James Chiusiwa said on Wednesday that the response is aligned with the National COVID-19 Response Plan and anchored in the National Resilience Strategy 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 government is committed to help vulnerable households mitigate, manage and recover from the impacts of these shocks,” Chiusiwa said.
WFP Malawi country manager Benoit Thiry appealed for more support for the programme, which requires a total of US$64.4 million to be fully implemented.
A total of US$50.2 million has so far been made available by funding partners, leaving a gap of US$14.2 million.
“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,” Thiry said.