More than 3 million people in Malawi will be affected by acute food shortages this year, according to a 2018 report by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC).

By Fazilla Tembo, in Lilongwe, Malawi

MVAC is a platform where the government and stakeholders, including development partners assess the food and vulnerability situation annually and forms the basis of response and recovery plans.

According to the report, about 3.3million people out of a population of just over 19 million in the country will be affected.

The report says the southern parts of the country will be the most affected by natural disasters such as drought, floods and a continued outbreak of fall armyworm.

“The disasters will cause more harm to crops resulting in little or no yield at all from the fields leaving many with no food,” it further says.

Malawi relies on agriculture to produce its main staple food maize but the production of maize has decreased to 24.9 million metric tonnes in the season 2017/2018 compared to 34.7million in 2016/2017.

The reduction in maize production has been attributed to Climate Change.

According to the report, the acute food shortages would similarly affect other Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries adding the country would be more affected than others.

The report indicates that in Mozambique, over half a million people would face food shortages while in Zimbabwe more than 2million people would be affected.

In Zambia, close to one million people of the population would be food insecure.

The Department of Meteorological Services has predicted that Malawi will this season experience moderate El Nino which will affect most areas of southern and central regions through drought and floods.

However, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Joseph Mwanamvekha said following the report, government has put in place measures to respond to the current food situation in the country.

“We have planned to start distributing food in terms of maize grain to the affected population in all districts in the country,” he said.

Each food insecure household will receive 50 kilograms of maize from the month of October until the following year, he said.

About the writer: Fazilla Tembo is one of several journalists from Southern Africa who write for ACCCKF after receiving training on gender and climate change journalism provided by UNWOMEN in South Africa