The number of Malawians in need of food aid until the next harvest in March/April has reduced from 6.6 million to 836 766, representing an 87 percent drop, official data has shown.
Information jointly released by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) and Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development also shows that the population in need of food aid is in 12 districts in the Southern Region, namely Balaka, Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Machinga, Mulanje, Mwanza, Neno, Nsanje, Phalombe, Thyolo and Zomba.
According to the assessment results, the total humanitarian food required to support the affected people is estimated at 22 387 metric tonnes (MT) of maize valued at about K4.5 billion.
Earlier this year, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, which has all along been releasing the assessments jointly with Mvac, also projected that the maize output would jump by 35.9 percent to 3.2 million MT compared to the previous year’s 2.3 MT.
Reacting to the report, Civil Society Agriculture Network (CisaNet) yesterday said the Mvac findings were realistic as there have been improvements following favourable weather conditions.
CisaNet executive director Pamela Kuwali said the results were a true reflection of the situation on the ground where “less than five percent” of the population is at risk of food insecurity compared to almost 40 percent who were in that situation last year.
In a telephone interview from Lilongwe yesterday, new Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development spokesperson, Davis Sado, said what remains now is for the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) to work on the findings and see the way forward.
Mvac and its partners, including Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, last year came under fire for allegedly giving the worst picture of the food situation in the country. n