LILONGWE – The Kingdom of Norway has contributed more than US$7.9 million (approximately MK 3.3 billion) to support vulnerable families suffering the effects of poor harvests in Malawi this year.
Norway’s contribution to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) comes in response to last year’s Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee report that estimated more than 1.85 million people are in need of food assistance during the current ‘lean season’.
WFP’s relief programme provides assistance to those most unable to meet their daily food needs in 24 affected districts nationwide.
Apart from being used to buy food commodities, Norway’s contribution is funding cash transfers in areas where market conditions allow, and helping to cover the transport and distribution costs of Malawi Government-donated 26000 metric tonnes of maize.
“Norway is pleased to be able to fund humanitarian operations in Malawi,” says Norwegian ambassador to Malawi, Asbjørn Eidhammer. “However, we note with concern that Malawian agriculture remains vulnerable to changes in weather patterns. Most of our work in agriculture is, therefore, geared towards helping smallholders adopt climate-smart farming technologies. WFP’s policy of procuring as much food as possible from local producers provides smallholders with a market and encourages them to increase their productivity.”
A previous contribution in 2012 from Norway of US$7.5 million helped WFP provide supplementary feeding to 160,000 malnourished children and women, enabling WFP to respond to malnutrition levels that have increased by one third since the lean season started in October.
Norway’s approach to hunger includes a focus on resilience-building designed to help smallholder farmers become more self-sufficient. To this end, Norway has contributed US$10 million to fund a climate adaptation programme in Africa.
Malawi and Tanzania have been chosen to ‘pilot’ the programme, which is being implemented under the Global Framework for Climate Services. As one of the implementing partners, WFP will strengthen the use of climate and weather information to support food security and nutrition, both at the national and community levels including through the 31 Farmers Organizations WFP Malawi is working with through its Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative.
Through P4P, WFP Malawi has facilitated market access for 24,000 smallholder farmers over the past five years by purchasing directly from them as well as through the African Commodity Exchange and the Warehouse Receipt System. Since 2009, WFP has purchased more than 57,000 metric tonnes of food commodities worth US$19.8 million through its P4P programme in Malawi.
“We look forward to a continued strong partnership with Norway to help build food and nutrition security in Malawi,” says WFP Representative Coco Ushiyama. “Together, we recognize the importance of both meeting immediate food and nutrition needs, and also of continuing to invest in critical interventions that build long-term resilience.”
Norway has contributed more than US$22 million to WFP’s operations in Malawi during the last decade.