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Dodma in K19 billion deficit

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The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) has a deficit of about K19 billion, which may negatively affect implementation of its Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Plan, The Daily Times has learned.

Dodma spokesperson, Chipiliro Khamula, said yesterday that the plan was drawn following a report by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee which projected that 1,043,000 people would be food insecure due to various natural calamities.

He said food security, which had a budget of K26 billion, was one of the priority areas alongside agriculture, nutrition, protection and education.

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But Khamula said only K6.5 billion has been sourced from partners, leaving a shortfall of about K19 billion.

“The initial plan of the lean season food insecurity response targeted 20 districts for cash transfers. Unfortunately, the resources raised so far can only cater for 10 districts. So, as a department, [we have] been looking at alternatives,” Khamula said.

He added that, in the interim, the government has decided to reach the remaining 10 districts with the rice, donated by the People’s Republic of China.

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However, Khamula admitted that delays have marred the distribution exercise. For example, the exercise has delayed for almost a month in Karonga District, a development attributed to logistical challenges.

“Instead of leaving multitudes in the 10 districts to starve, as government sources additional funds, it was agreed that households should be given some of the rice that came from China in quantities of 50 kilogrammes each. The distribution delayed because the rice came in consignments,” he said.

The government is expected to spend K161 million in the distribution exercise, which ends mid-April, with Khamula confirming that the Treasury has already released the money to Dodma.

In the 2017/18 planting season, the country faced the challenges of drought, floods and the fall army worm infestation, leaving thousands of households food insecure, prompting the government of China to reach out to Malawi with 3,270 metric tonnes of rice.

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