The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) yesterday launched a once-off maize distribution exercise targeting food insecure households.
Launching the exercise in Traditional Authority (T/A) Chigaru in Blantyre, Agriculture Minister Joseph Mwanamvekha said the month-long exercise targets food insecure households following prolonged dry spells and fall armyworms outbreak experienced during the 2017/18 farming season.
A total of 432 729 bags of maize (21 636.5 tonnes) will be distributed to 432 729 households in 26 districts.
In the exercise, each household will receive a 50 kilogramme (kg) bag of maize pending the final Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) report expected next week and resource mobilisation for the Mvac response.
Mwanamvekha said after the release of the Mvac report, government will roll out the massive free food distribution exercise to continue until March next year.
He said: “There is enough maize in the country’s grain reserves, totaling over 300 000 metric tonnes [MT], to feed all needy citizens in the country until the next harvesting season.”
Blantyre North legislator Francis Phiso said there is need for the country to find permanent ways of dealing with fall armyworms that continue to affect crops in the country.
The 2018 Mvac preliminary report projects that at least 3.3 million Malawians will be food insecure this year. n