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US government donates K3.3 billion for food

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The United States government has donated $4.6 million (about K3.3 billion) to assist people who are in need of humanitarian food assistance.

US Ambassador, Virginia Palmer, made the announcement on Wednesday.

A press release from the Embassy says the donation is in response to the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac)’s report, which estimated that 6.7 million Malawians need humanitarian food assistance to alleviate suffering through March 2017.

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Government last year launched the Food Insecurity Response Plan (Firp), in which it planned to raise $395 million, to assist people affected by food shortage.

According to a press release, the $4.6 million donation brings the total contribution of the US government towards Firp to $126 million.

The funds are expected to be channeled through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

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The press release quotes Palmer:

“The United States Government continues to stand by Malawians in their time of need. But, together, we recognise 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 also said that the US will continue to work with the Malawi government to break the cycle of food insecurity. She said key to the issue is Malawi’s fulfilling its New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition commitments.

The commitments include a review of the Control of Goods Act, which has inhibited investment in food production, and passage of a Seed Bill consistent with Malawi’s commitment to Sadc seed harmonisation so that Malawi farmers can access and sell quality seeds across the region.

The statement says of the $4.6 million, $2.5 million will be used to transport and distribute 10,800 metric tonnes of maize from Strategic Grain Reserves, and $2.1 million is education funding to fill a critical gap in Malawi’s school feeding programme.

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