Over 2.6 million Malawians—about 15 percent of the population—would face hunger between October 2020 and March 2021, due to a slowdown in economic activities triggered by both domestic and global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is according to a report by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) to be officially released this week.
It shows that there is a jump in number of vulnerable people which has also been coupled with limited access to services. During the 2019/20 consumption season, about 1.1 million Malawians were food insecure.
Mvac indicates that of 2.6 million people facing hunger, about 2 million are in rural areas while about 600,000 are in urban areas.
Director of Monitoring and Evaluation in Ministry of Economic Planning and Development responsible for Mvac, Sophie Kang’oma, declined to comment on the report, saying they will issue a statement on the same this week.
In an interview Monday, Dodma spokesperson, Chipiliro Khamula, said the department will develop a lean season food insecurity response plan basing on the Mvac report.
“The number of affected families will determine how much will be required for the implementation of the response programme. Currently, planning processes for the development of the plan are at an advanced stage,” he said.
On his part Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Samir Suleman, said though he is also yet to get the report pleaded with the government to support the families which will face hunger.
“It is not a secret, there hunger out there. So, we are pleading with the government to intervene. They should find a way to address this issue. I am also meeting the Minister of Agriculture on Wednesday regarding the same,” he said.
A Covid-19 situation report by United Nations Children’s Fund released on August 5, 2020 indicates that this is an added stress on the population especially that the most vulnerable and marginalised people in the society are already struggling to cope with the impacts of the pandemic.
Earlier in August a Southern Africa Development Community Synthesis Report on the State of Food and Nutrition Security and Vulnerability in Southern Africa predicted that 2.7 million Malawians will experience food consumption gaps and will require urgent assistance.
The report indicated that out of the 2.7 million affected people, the majority, estimated at 1.9 million, are from rural areas with the remaining 800 000 from urban areas.
In the report, Sadc said the number of food insecure people in Malawi and other countries this year will exceed its assessment figures.