Over 2.6 million people in need of food assistance in Malawi

News and Press Release
Originally published


LILONGWE – The Government of Malawi, together with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Development Partners have teamed up to provide food and cash assistance to over 2.6 million people facing severe food insecurity in Malawi during the current lean season.

The Government, through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) in collaboration with its humanitarian partners, has facilitated the development of the 2020/2021 National Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Programme to address the needs of the affected communities. The Response is aligned with the National COVID-19 Response Plan and anchored in the National Resilience Strategy (NRS) which aims to tackle root causes of food and nutrition insecurity such as over-dependence on rain-fed agriculture and lack of crop diversification.

“The increasing risk of climatic shocks worsens a vicious cycle of food insecurity,” says James Chiusiwa, Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs. “The Government is committed to help vulnerable households mitigate, manage and recover from the impacts of these shocks.” The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) has determined that 2.6 million food insecure people will require assistance during the 2020/2021 Lean Season. This population includes households from rural areas which experienced localized low levels of crop production, as well as people in urban areas who experienced loss of income due to the economic effects of COVID-19 pandemic. “WFP is grateful for International Donors’ support to the response. The support we received will help the Government of Malawi to reach some of the country’s most vulnerable people, who risk slipping further into hunger,” said Benoit Thiry, WFP Malawi Country Director.

With resources mobilised both by the Government of Malawi and Donors (the Joint SDG Fund, as well as the Government of Norway, United Kingdom and United States of America), the response started in December 2020 and will run until March 2021. DoDMA is targeting all 28 districts and four cities of the country with WFP currently supporting provision of assistance in 12 districts. The Government has so far allocated 30,000 metric tonnes of maize from the Strategic Grain Reserve for the programme, while WFP will distribute cash so that people can buy food in the local markets.

The implementation of the Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Programme requires a total of USD 64.4 million (about MK48.6 billion). A total of USD 50.2 million (about MK 37.8 billion) has been made available, leaving a gap of USD 14.2 million (about MK10.8 billion) in order to reach the full food insecure population of 2.6 million in the 28 districts and four cities during the 2020/2021 Lean Season. DoDMA is appealing to partners, including the private sector, to technically and financially support the implementation of the programme.

Several COVID-19 prevention measures have been taken to minimize the risk of exposure of personnel, partners, and beneficiaries during food and cash distributions. These measures include conducting staggered distributions, having hygiene and sanitation measures in place during distributions, and leading sensitization campaigns throughout distributions.

About WFP

The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change. Our efforts focus on responding to emergencies while strengthening the Government's social protection system; preventing chronic malnutrition; providing locally produced school meals; and building resilience of rural communities to be more self-reliant and equipped to face climatic shocks.

Follow us on Twitter @WFP_Malawi

About the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA)

Established through the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act of 1991, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs is the Government of Malawi’s agency responsible for coordinating and directing the implementation of disaster risk management programmes in the country in order to improve and safeguard the quality of life of Malawians, especially those vulnerable to and affected by disasters.

Follow us on twitter @DisasterDept

For more information, please contact: Badre Bahaji, WFP/Lilongwe, Mob. +265 99 378 56 29, Email: Chipiliro Khamula, Mob. +265 999 04 32 28, Email: