BLANTYRE--The United Nations (UN) is committed to helping Malawi develop long term plans on food security to avert shortages in the future.
United Nations Development Programme Administrator, Helen Clark, who is on a three- day visit to Malawi told journalists after meeting with Pres Joyce Banda at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre on Thursday that the food crisis that has befallen Malawi is her organization's priority.
“Top of our minds at the UNDP is the reeling food crisis and we have discussed it with the president who is very concerned about it including how we can assist.
“Our organization will work with government, agencies and partners involved in trying to create greater resilience so that Malawi comes out of the current food crisis smoothly,” explained Clark.
The UN Administrator who is also former Prime Minister for New Zeeland said there are strategies that could be developed to help Malawi have enough food in future, citing water infrastructure and aforestation as examples.
Clark said the UN also advised Pres Banda’s government to expedite the development of a clear plan on the 2014 elections for cooperating partners to make commitments in time.
“We discussed the election support, an area which the UN is always a leader and we have advised the president to develop a clear plan that will be submitted to development partners to fund it,” Clark said.
The UNDP Administrator also pledged his organization's commitment to help Malawi's education sector especially with girls' education, disclosing that the UN Country office and government are developing an action plan that will use the girl child as an entry point for accelerating Millennium Development Goals achievement.
In addition, she assured the nation of continued support in the UN volunteer programme which supplies medical and nursing staff to Malawi.
According to Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC), about 1.6 million people face a three to eight months annual food deficit requiring 75,394.32mt of maize in food assistance
Hot spot districts include Karonga and Mzimba in the North, Kasungu, Dedza, Ntcheu and Salima in the Central and Blantyre, Balaka, Chikhwawa, Mulanje, Mwanza, Mangochi, Phalombe, Neno, Nsanje, Thyolo and Zomba.
Currently MVAC is assessing the food situation following complaints that the number of people facing hunger has increased, according to the department of disaster preparedness and relief.
---(c) The Maravi Post 2012.