Government has released 47,466 metric tonnes of maize from the country’s Strategic Grain Reserves for distribution to people affected by food shortage in the country.

This allocation is valued at $11.6 million (K 4.18 billion).

According a joint press statement released by government and World Food Programme (WFP) dated February 19, the donation brings the total of the government’s relief contributions since August to 72,466 tonnes.

In the statement, Principal Secretary and Commissioner in the Department of Disaster Management Affairs, Jeffrey Kanyinji, is quoted as saying food relief is to help people as they work in their fields so that they can attain a better harvest.

“This contribution is part of the government’s continuing support for the most vulnerable people in Malawi, we want to help sustain them as they work in the fields for a better harvest during the next growing season,” says Kanyinji.

WFP Malawi’s acting Country Director, Baton Osmani, has commended government for the move saying it is coming at the crucial time, in the middle of the lean season when people are facing a lot of hardships.

The latest contribution from the Government comes in addition to 25,000 metric tonnes released last year valued at K20 billion.

According to the statement, the Republic of Ireland and the Kingdom of Norway are covering the costs of replenishing the maize stocks in the Strategic Grain Reserves and that since the start of relief activities in August 2012, other contributions have come from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the European Union, the Republic of Canada, the Kingdom of Norway and the Republic of South Africa.

The statement further indicates that in addition to distributing food, WFP is assisting more than 125,000 people with cash transfers in areas where market conditions allow so they can buy their own commodities. These include Blantyre, Zomba, Mangochi, Machinga and Ntcheu.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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