LILONGWE, September 22, 2015: U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer announced the United States’ donation of US$15.7 million (MK9 billion) worth of food commodities to Malawi to assist a portion of the 2.8 million people in need of humanitarian food assistance.
This assistance is in response to the September 21 appeal for donor support of up to US$146.4 million (MK 84 billion) by the Government of Malawi following the Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) findings in July 2015. As a result of the unfavorable 2014/2015 farming season, 2.8 million Malawians in 24 districts will require food assistance from October 2015 to March 2016. The late onset of rains, severe flooding, mid-season dry spells, and early ending of rains contributed to an approximately 30 percent reduction in Malawi’s maize crop production.
The UN World Food Program (WFP) will receive and distribute the United States food donation of 6,250 metric tons of beans and 2,810 metric tons of vitamin A & D fortified vegetable oil as part of a larger food basket designed to meet the nutritional requirements of those in need. The food donation will arrive in Malawi beginning in October 2015.
Since 2012, the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided over $55 million (MK29.2 billion) of food assistance to address food insecurity stemming from recurrent adverse weather in Malawi. In August 2014, the United States provided $7 million (MK3.7 billion) through WFP to support the MVAC response to the seasonal food insecurity that affected 640,000 people in 19 districts across Malawi. Early this year, the United States also provided assistance totaling $9.3 million (about MK5 billion) to Malawi when the country experienced widespread, devastating floods. The assistance was channeled through several relief organizations, including UNICEF, WFP, GOAL, Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, Project Concern International, and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
In addition, the United States provides approximately $25 million per year under President Obama’s Feed the Future and Climate Change Initiatives that are building resilience among vulnerable households in Central and Southern Malawi. These programs are designed to increase agricultural production and help communities adapt to climate change. In doing so, they are reducing food insecurity, poverty and under nutrition.
U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer stressed that it is important to tackle agriculture shortfalls holistically, addressing crop diversification, environmental degradation, irrigation, market distorting export licenses and farmers’ (including women farmers’) role in the marketing of agricultural commodities and confirmed that, “The United States is committed to Malawi’s welfare and development, and we are proud to partner with the people of Malawi in this time of need.”