In a pragmatic move to rally a rapid response around the hovering food shortage in the country, President Arthur Peter Mutharika has declared Malawi a ‘state of national disaster’ in view of yet another farming season with reduced crop production and persistent dry spells.

The President has done this in accordance with powers conferred upon him by section 32(1) of the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act.

In a statement released on Tuesday April 12, the day on which the declaration took effect, President Mutharika points out persistent dry spells facilitated by El Nino , inadequate or erratic rainfall and destructive floods as some of the factors behind the current state of affairs.

Informed by expert advice from Ministry of Agriculture officials, the President said he was certain that the country will need more food to feed close to 3 million people who will be greatly affected by this spate of food shortage.

According to the Malawi leader, the country has a food deficit of close to 1,290,000 metric tonnes which is needed for the country to fully avert the food crisis this season.

He therefore has appealed for humanitarian relief assistance from international donor community, United Nations agencies, NGOs, private sector as well as citizens of goodwill.

Malawi has for the past two seasons been affected by floods that have washed away almost 25 percent of arable land together with food crops.
In terms of rainfall, Southern and Central Regions have on average received less rains than required while the former and Northern regions are the ones that have mostly been affected by flooding.

Just this week, heavy rains in Mzuzu, Karonga and Nkhatabay have led to loss of 6 lives and destruction of homes and property. This spate extends from the past two rainy seasons whose floods have claimed hundreds of lives.

Food and governance experts have hailed President Mutharika for his proactive and pragmatic response to seemingly another year of food shortage.

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