Nsanje — Government has advised the country's district councils to consider starting directing resources towards interventions that would contribute to building community resilience in disaster prone areas.
Vice President Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima made the sentiments on Wednesday in Nsanje during the launch of the 2017/2018 lean season food insecurity response plan and distribution of relief food donated by the Chinese Government.
Chilima said there was need to redesign and prioritize resilience building interventions so that the country could break the vicious cycle of food insecurity.
"Although government is doing everything possible to ensure that all the affected households in every disaster including food insecurity are assisted accordingly, we need to start directing our resources to resilience building interventions," Chilima observed.
"That will not be the responsibility of the district councils alone but even development partners including civil society organisations. Therefore, may I call upon our development partners to redesign the ongoing programs to prioritize resilience building interventions," advised Chilima.
On the fall army worms, Chilima assured people, farmers in particular, that government would do everything within its mandate to ensure the pests were controlled.
He explained: "I am aware that the risk of losing our crop due to the fall army worms is still high. I would like to urge the Ministry of Agriculture to help our famers contain the fall army worms," said the Veep while advising farmers to be observant in their fields on availability of any suspicious pests and report to relevant authorities.
Commenting on the launch of the 2017/2018 lean season food insecurity response plan, Chilima said results of a food security assessment by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee indicate that at least 1.04 million people in the country may require relief food assistance during the lean period.
"The report shows that from December 2017 to March 2018 about 1.04 million people will be food insecure. After the release of the food security assessment report, government, through DODMA, in collaboration with humanitarian agencies, developed the 2017/2018 Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Plan to guide the response program.
"The total budget for the 2017/18 Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Plan is US$34.89 million. Out of the US$34.89 million, US$13.6 million is for assisting the affected people with relief food. Available funding is US$8.12 million. There is still a funding gap of US$26.77 million to meet the cost of the whole response plan," he pointed out.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative to Malawi, Florence Rolle concurred with the Vice President on the need to come up with measures that would contribute to building resilience in the communities.
Rolle emphasized that cash transfers were not enough to address issues affecting people in the country as a result of being food insecure.
"I think there is more to be done to ensure that the country achieves food security. There is need to encourage interventions that can build resilience among communities. One of such interventions is encouraging irrigation farming," Rolle said.