By Deogratias Mmana:
The 2022 Global Hunger Index (GHI) says Malawians are facing hunger.
The index, which focused on food systems transformation and local governance, was launched on Tuesday in Lilongwe.
It is co-authored by secretary general for Welthungerhilfe Matthias Moggae and chief executive officer for Concern Worldwide Dominic MacSorley.
In the index, Malawi ranks 87 out of 121 countries with sufficient data to calculate 2022 GHI scores.
“With a score of 20.7, Malawi has a level of hunger that is serious. This is evident in food insecurity analysis which projects that 3.8 million Malawians are facing high levels of acute food insecurity,” reads a presentation made by country director for Concern Worldwide in Malawi Yousaf Jogezai.
However, the report says, using data gathered in 2021, GHI found that Malawi has been making steady progress in combating hunger and its associated impacts.
It says there is much improvement regarding under-five mortality, under-five prevalence rate of stunting and wasting.
“However, the proportion of the population that is undernourished is rising. This reversal is an indication of challenges emanating from impacts of multiple crises that are affecting the food system,” the report says.
The report recommends that governance measures should be tailored to local conditions and capacities.
It further calls for the placing of the right to food and local communities at the centre of the food systems transformation.
“In order to achieve this, there is a need to strengthen inclusive initiatives led by local communities that are crisis-responsive and sustainable and also [there is] the need for long term financing to food systems,” Jogezai said.
During a panel discussion, it was observed that implementation of the Affordable Inputs Programme is poor because beneficiaries have not graduated from hunger ever since it was started.
The AIP is also said to be taking up a lot of funding.
It was also observed that although the government allocates over 10 percent of its national budget to the agricultural sector, the country continues to face hunger because some areas within the agricultural sector are not given much attention, notably irrigation farming and extension services, among others.
Controller of Agriculture and Extension Services Alfred Mwenifumbo admitted that the country continues to face hunger despite a huge allocation of funds that goes to his ministry because of the country’s over-reliance on rain-fed agriculture.
He also said farming communities have failed to utilise irrigation structures which are available across the country.
“We have idle irrigation infrastructure in the country. We need to change policy as there is enough irrigation infrastructure that can help us become self-reliant,” Mwenifumbo said.
The report says, in 2021, the number of under-nourished people globally rose to 828 million due to chronic hunger.
The Malawi launch of the index aims to give an opportunity to policymakers, donors and other players to find a lasting solution to hunger.