- Category: Comment
- Written by Nation Online
We are not surprised at the bad news from the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) reportâ€”that at least 1.6 million people face food shortage in the country this season.
The rains were indeed erratic in the last growing season. Access to and distribution of subsidised farm inputs were also a challenge.
This development should, thus, be a learning point for all stakeholders.
For example, the committee should not have waited till this last minute to talk about such an impending national challenge?Â Of course, while data may not easily have been available soon after harvest, there was need to ensure speed. We are convinced this was not impossible, given that the committee has been in the business for a long time.
In any case, if there were challenges, they should have been communicated in time.
We are saying this because while government has acknowledged the potential food and nutrition gap and pledged to come in with emergency supplies next month, we feel the preparedness period may not be sufficient, given recent yearsâ€™ experiences.
This is also happening at the time Capital Hill needs to mobilise resources for the subsidised farm inputs for the next growing season for the same beneficiaries. Again, the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) has its own perennial challenges that have not been effectively tackled over the years. These include poor mapping and selection of beneficiaries, corruption and paucity of logistics.
Therefore, we need to hear more from government on how the double task will be accomplished.
It is also time to seriously act on (not think about) national irrigation options which have been extensively spoken about at political mass rallies, with little happening on the ground.
The Mvac report is a serious wake-up call, especially given the changing global climate.