International Food Policy Research Institute (Ifpri) says Malawi needs to address food insecurity if the country is to achieve Sustainable Development Goal Two (SGD 2) to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030.
Disseminating its research findings in Mzuzu yesterday, Ifpri researcher Grace Kumchulesi said at least two million people in the country are in need of food aid every year.
Kumchulesi said: “The figures fluctuate every year, but on average about two million people every year are in need of food assistance in Malawi. We also note that in recent years, these numbers are increasing, especially in 2016/17 where we found that about 40 percent of people in the country were in need of food assistance.”
She said the government has developed good policies such as the Nutrition Policy which addresses malnutrition holistically by acknowledging that other sectors, including health and agriculture, have a role to play.
The research was conducted as a precursor to the Zero Hunger and Malnutrition Strategic Review (ZHMSR) through which government wants to identify key challenges that the country faces in achieving the SDG’s target of zero hunger and malnutrition by 2030.
Under the leadership of the former vice-president Justin Malewezi as the lead convener, a multi-stakeholder advisory board was established to identify, based on the evidence available and through consensus, a set of prioritised actions that will enable the country to substantially eliminate hunger and malnutrition.
Malewezi said the recommendations that emerge from the deliberations of the ZHMSR advisory board will inform existing medium-term policy initiatives within Malawi to foster action on nutrition and food security.
He said the board conducted consultations in selected districts of Kasungu, Nkhata Bay, Dedza, Balaka and Nsanje to get perspectives from district leaders and community members on the hunger and food security challenges.
Traditional Authority Jalavikuba of Mzimba applauded the government for being proactive on the issue, promising to assist the government in mobilising subjects to plant more trees and sensitise communities against planting trees along riverbanks in an effort to minimise the impact of climate change so that households remain food secure.