Lilongwe - Malawi President Peter Mutharika has confirmed that his government has set aside $50 million to alleviate an impending hunger epidemic that will be felt by many people this year until the next farming season, Nyasa Times reports.
Mutharika, was speaking during the rolling out of the government's Food Insecurity Response Plan. The plan is intended to assist over 6 million Malawians facing hunger due to poor harvests.
Malawi was in the 2015/2016 farming season hit by a number of climate change challenges such as dry spells and floods that adversely affected its crop yield.
According to reports, approximately 6.5 million Malawians would need food assistance from July this year to March next year due to food shortages.
News24 reported previously that after two successive droughts, Malawi was diverting almost half of its budget to state-sponsored fertiliser subsidies to irrigation.
Malawi’s agriculture minister George Chaponda attributed the change of strategy as a tactic to counter climate change. Malawi had over the past ten years spent about $800 million on a Farm Input Subsidy Programme, an intervention aimed at improving food security by addressing resource poor smallholder farmers’ affordability constraints in purchasing fertilisers.
Other countries in the southern African region were also adversely affected by droughts.
The World Food Programme (WFP) recently said that the droughts were likely to damage harvests across the region - from southern Angola to Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia.
The WFP warned that at least 16 million people were already food insecure in the region, and recently the figure was revised upwards to about 32 million by the Southern Africa Food and Nutrition Security Working Group.
- News24 Nigeria