NORWAY, ICELAND DONATE 4.1 MILLION DOLLARS TOWARDS LEAN SEASON FOOD INSECURITY RESPONSE PROGRAMME
The governments of Iceland and Norway, through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have donated $4.1 million to support food insecure households at the peak of the lean season in Malawi.
The joint contribution comprises of US$3.6 million from Norway and US$500,000 from Iceland responding to the 2022-2023 Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Plan.
According to the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC), a total of 3.8 million in 27 districts and four cities will require food assistance ranging from three to five months period starting November 2022 to March 2023.
Speaking in Lilongwe on Wednesday during a signing ceremony of the agreement, WFP Country Director, Paul Turnbull said it was important that they formalize the generous Nordic contribution meant to assist smallholder farmers who have been heavily affected by climate shocks and rising food prices.
Turnbull said the contribution will provide critical humanitarian assistance to some 270,000 people through cash-based transfers in the districts of Balaka and Chikwawa.
“As Malawi continues to suffer the impacts of the global food crises, where the devastating effects of natural disasters have been exacerbated by rising prices of food, energy and fertilizer, in part a result of the conflict in Ukraine, this assistance could not come at a more opportune time” said Turnbull.
He said that the damage left by floods earlier this year coupled with lingering impacts of Covid-19 among others will further compromise food security in the short and longer terms.
“Increasing collaboration and strengthening existing partnerships such as the one we see here today between WFP, the Government and the donor community will be paramount. Only together we will be able to increase food security and enhance overall resilience in a meaningful and more sustainable manner” he said.
He commended the governments of Norway and Iceland for their commitment to ensuring the food security of the most vulnerable during the exceptionally difficult season.
On her part, the Nowergian Ambassodor Ingrid Mikelsen said she was happy to sign the agreement between WFP, Malawi and the Royal Norwegian Embassy for the support to the lean season response.
Mikelsen said this is the second time the embassy gets involved in the Social Cash Transfer Programme (SCTP).
She said the SCTP has been very effective and successful in reaching the poorest households, giving people themselves the power to make their own decision on how to use the cash, trusting they best know what should be given priority and also at the same time not bypassing the market system.
“The social cash transfer programme has been targeting the poorest of the rural poor. The poor harvest caused by the floods has shown the need to expand the support for up to 5 months in some areas.
“The Norwegian Embassy is therefore pleased that we have been able to reallocate funds to support the Governments lean season food insecurity response plan, through the World Food Programme with cash-transfers to the most vulnerable households in Balaka, Phalombe and Chikwawa” said Mikelsen.
She said that more than 80 000 households will receive cash for up to 5 months enabling them to cover their basic needs.
In her remarks, Head of Mission of Iceland in Malawi, Inga Petursdottir said Iceland remains steadfast in its support to vulnerable Malawians at risk of hunger.
Petursdottir said it was their first time responding to LSFI-RP acknowledging that the increasing risk of climatic shocks worsens a vicious cycle of food insecurity.
“Which is why Iceland partnered with WFP to help vulnerable families to mitigate and manage the impacts of these shocks,” she said.
Director of Response and Recovery in the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), Rev. Moses Chimphepo thanked WFP and the Governments of Norway and Iceland for the kind gesture.
Chimphepo said that the government of Malawi is grateful for their contribution to the 2022-23 lean season response.
“The support will ensure less Malawians go hungry and that government can focus on its development goals,” said Chimphepo.
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