United States Of America Helps People Affected By Food Shortages In Malawi

Published on 14 November 2013

LILONGWE –The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has contributed food and cash valued at US$18.2 million (MK 6.1 billion) to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to assist Malawians facing food shortages due to a combination of bad weather during the growing season as well as high food prices.

The contribution from USAID’s Office of Food for Peace – the U.S. Government’s largest provider of overseas food assistance –will help WFP meet the food needs of some 1.5 million people identified as food insecure by the July bulletin of the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC).

“In contributing to building long-term community resilience to food insecurity and promoting sustainable food production, USAID is implementing Feed the Future (FTF) and Food for Peace (FFP) activities across Malawi, a country that is frequently hit by prolonged dry spells and floods,” said USAID/Malawi Acting Mission Director Stephanie Funk.

WFP is currently  assisting more than 900,000 people in 15 districts and will scale up its relief operation to reach 1.5 million people at the height of the lean season in January-February in all 21 affected districts.

It is estimated that the numbers facing food insecurity could increase significantly though the extent of the need will not be known until after an assessment update is released by the MVAC in the coming weeks. WFP has made the necessary preparations to scale-up its response if necessary.

“We appreciate the swift support by USAID to the people of Malawi at this critical time,” says WFP Representative Coco Ushiyama. “With about 10 percent of the rural population likely to suffer food shortages, we are especially grateful for USAID’s timely help – because we know that household food stocks are already running low, even now during the early part of the lean season.”

The food provided by USAID will be distributed alongside maize donated to WFP from the Government of Malawi from its Strategic Grain Reserve.

“WFP welcomes the initial release of 25,000 metric tons of maize by the Government of Malawi,” says Ushiyama,“We are racing against time to secure contributions from our partners to pre-position food before the rains start in November.”

Using the cash contribution from USAID, WFP will procure as much food as possible from smallholder farmers to give to food insecure people. In this way, smallholders not affected by crop failure will gain access to new market opportunities and will be able to boost their income.

WFP’s efforts will also contribute to resilience building through interventions that meet immediate food needs while strengthening the ability of vulnerable people to manage risks and withstand the adverse effects of dry spells and other shocks.

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For more information please contact:
Rachael Wilson, Reports Officer, WFP Malawi, Email: rachael.wilson@wfp.org  Tel. +265 1 774 666

About the World Food Programme:
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.

For more information about WFP in Malawi: http://www.wfp.org/countries/malawi

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For more information, please contact:
Oris Chimenya, Development Outreach Communications Specialist, USAID/Malawi, Email: ochimenya@usaid.gov  Tel: 01 772 455

For more information about the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Malawi, go to: http://www.usaid.gov/malawi