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United States pumps in K17 billion for hunger response

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The humanitarian food assistance programme in the country has received a boost with an injection of $ 23 million (aboutK17 billion) by the United States (US) government.

US Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer made the announcement yesterday saying the additional donation is in response to the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee’s (Mvac) report that 6.5 million people may face starvation if government does not make available enough food to its people.

According to a press statement from the US Embassy, all the funds will be channeled through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

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“Of the $23 million, $18 million will be used to help fill deficits in pulses and super cereal needed for the 2016/17 Food Insecurity Response Plan while $5 million will be used to purchase ready-to-use therapeutic food for HIV patients currently being treated with Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART),

“The latter is particularly important to preserve gains made to date in HIV treatment, as malnourished patients tend to discontinue ART without access to food to ameliorate the treatment’s side effects,” part of the statement reads.

The statement adds that in order to further preserve development gains in other sectors; the US has also re-programmed $12 million of previously planned investments in agricultural development and climate change adaptation programmes.

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“These were longer-term investments that now have been re-directed to enhance the United States Government’s responsiveness to the dire food security situation Malawi currently faces. These are primarily food-for-work activities, whereby beneficiaries will receive food for their contributions to resilience-building measures, such as afforestation, soil and water conservation, and small-scale irrigation,” it reads.

The additional assistance brings the US total contribution to the 2016/17 Food Insecurity Response Plan to nearly $118 million, which is equivalent to about 30 percent of the Plan’s $395 million estimated cost.

“The United States Government continues to stand by Malawians in their time of need. But, together we recognize that policy and market predictability are critical if Malawi’s farmers are to become entrepreneurs, if agribusinesses are to invest, and if Malawi is to transform its agriculture sector from a source of vulnerability into an engine for growth,” Palmer said.

The Ambassador has also pledged that her government will continue to work with the government of Malawi to break the cycle of food insecurity by providing assistance to help the country honour its New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition commitments.

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