12 November 2012

Malawi: United States of America Helps People Affected By Food Shortages in Malawi

Photo: Twin and Twin Trading
Malawian farmers prepare to plant groundnuts: The reluctant embrace of crops that would not previously have been considered as food is a capitulation to the strength of hunger, farmers say.

Lilongwe — The United States Agency for International Development/Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) has contributed food valued at US$14.1 million (MK 4.23 billion) to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to help assist Malawians facing food shortages due to crop failure and high food prices.

The in-kind contribution of fortified blended food, known as Super Cereal, vegetable oil and pulses from USAID/FFP will allow WFP to meet the food needs of more than 1.6 million people for five months.

"The U.S. Government has administered over US$206 million in Food for Peace and Food for Education funds and food commodities in Malawi since 1961," said USAID Malawi Mission Director Doug Arbuckle. "This assistance brings hope and nourishment to millions in communities across Malawi in an effort to offset hunger and malnutrition resulting from natural disasters, droughts, and food insecurity."

Prolonged dry spells and rising food prices have left many people across southern and central Malawi struggling to get enough food this year. The WFP operation is currently assisting nearly 700,000 beneficiaries in nine districts (Machinga, Chikhwawa, Nsanje, Balaka, Blantyre, Neno, Ntecheu, Phalombe and Zomba). It will be scaled up during coming months to reach 1.6 million people during the January-to-March lean season in all 15 affected districts.

"We appreciate the swift support by USAID to the people of Malawi at this critical time," says WFP Country Director Abdoulaye Diop.

The USAID-contributed commodities will be distributed alongside maize contributed by the Government of Malawi from the Strategic Grain Reserve for the relief operation as an initial response targeting the most affected areas.

"WFP welcomes the initial release of 25,000 metric tons of maize by the Government of Malawi and looks forward to more support from our partners to meet the complete requirements of the operation," Diop said.

WFP requires US$15.4 million to cover the immediate needs of the affected population during the forthcoming lean season.

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