The Government of Malawi has donated to the UN World Food Programme an extra 47,466 metric tons of maize from the country’s Strategic Grain Reserve. This allocation, valued at $11.6 million (MK 4.18 billion), will bolster relief operations for nearly 2 million people identified by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee as food insecure. This brings the total Government of Malawi relief contributions since August to 72,466 tones, worth $ 17.1 million (MK 6.2 billion).
“This contribution is part of the Government’s continuing support for the most vulnerable people in Malawi,” says Jeffrey Kanyinji, Principal Secretary and Commissioner, Department of Disaster Management Affairs. “We want to help sustain them as they work in the fields for a better harvest during the next growing season.”
Last year’s erratic rains and prolonged dry spells led to poor harvests in many areas and, even where food is available in local markets, it is often too expensive for the poorest households. Maize retail prices are nearly 100 per cent higher compared than at this time last year.
“We highly commend the Government for its commitment to the humanitarian needs of the people we’re assisting,” said Baton Osmani, WFP Malawi’s acting Country Director. “The donation comes at a crucial time, right in the middle of the lean season when people are facing enormous hardship.”
The latest contribution from the Government comes in addition to 25,000 MT released last year (value US$ 5.5 million or MK 20 billion). The Republic of Ireland and the Kingdom of Norway are covering the costs of replenishing the maize stocks in the Strategic Grain Reserve. 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.
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.