Chilima says relief food no answer to food insecurity

 

Vice-President Saulos Chilima has said providing relief food to victims of disasters such as floods and the dry spells has failed to break the cycle of food insecurity in the country.

The Vice-President said this yesterday at Chiweta Primary School ground in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Machinjiri in Blantyre where he presided over the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative Insurance Payout to farmers, a project being implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP).

Thiry (R) confers with Chilima at the function

 

Chilima, who is also Minister of Disaster Management Affairs, noted that providing relief food to affected populations during disasters does not build resilience.

He said: “The National Resilience Strategy aims at achieving two key outcomes, namely to have the cycle of disasters, especially food insecurity, broken and to build national resilience to disasters. [But] Resilience should not be thought of as a programme or project, but as an operational mindset that has to be incorporated into every aspect of development.”

Chilima commended WFP for its R4 Rural Initiative Insurance Payout, a project which farmers work on asset creation and rehabilitation activities to get monthly food and cash transfers to meet their consumption needs. They also work on additional days in asset creation activities in exchange for insurance premiums which protect farmers’ agricultural investments against drought.

In his speech, WFP country director Benoit Thiry said the initiative is crucial to smallholder farmers as most of them cannot sustainably feed their families or safeguard their communities resources for the future.

He said: “Through farmers participating in the resilience programme, we have also heard of enormous potential and the endless possibilities for smallholder farmers to break the cycle of hunger.”

He said this season, over 7 000 drought-affected farmers will receive an insurance payout valued at over K360 million.

At the event, each beneficiary received about K38 000 after paying K13 000 premium.

According to a WFP report, last year 10 327 farmers got insured. n

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