BLANTYRE--Despite a reported good arvest of three million tonnes, some 1.63 million Malawians will require food aid until the next harvest in March next year, a latest report on food availability by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee and released on Monday said.
The committee, which is composed of several government departments and donor agencies, said the hungry represent 11 percent of the 13 million citizens. Last year, only 200,000 people in 10 of the country's 28 districts, needed food aid.
The report said this year 15 districts were affected. Three of the districts were in the central region while the rest are from the south.
"Those affected will require support for a period of three to eight months," the committe said, recommending a "swift response" and a broad range of interventions.
The report said the government's department of disaster management affairs and the United Nations Office for the consoildation of humanitarina affairs said the two bodies developed a "consolidated response" which will see 75,000 tonnes of the staple maize being distributed starting next month.
Prolonged dry spells and poor access to farm inputs have been blamed for poor harvests in southern Malawi.
The late president Bingu wa Mutharika is credited for ending hunger in the poor southern African nation after he launched six years ago an expensive subsidy programme for fertliser and inputs for thousands of poor villagers to shore up maize production.
Malawi needs some two million tonnes of maize to feed its population annually.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.