LILONGWE JULY 5, 2016 (CISA) – The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) has appealed to local, national, and international bodies as well as individuals to come to the aid of over six million Malawians affected by food insecurity.
“The current historic hunger threatens the life of many. Our hospitals are already reporting higher rates of malnutrition cases with the situation feared to worsen as we approach what we normally call the lean period,” warned the bishops in a statement, Reported Fides.
The bishops urged the society to begin rising to the challenge of the “worrisome” national food crisis, saying the current food insecurity situation requires concerted efforts from various stakeholders just as latest figures suggest almost half of Malawi population is unable to meet their food requirements.
“To realize that 40 percent of the population is unable to meet their food entitlements sends shivers to us as Shepherds of God’s folks,” the bishops said.
The bishops said the country requires US$ 307.5 million to support the affected population and they challenged the government to particularly implement the “National Resilience Plan, which is aimed at breaking the cycle of food insecurity.”
“Our plea is that we should not just have mouthful and beautiful policies that translate into nothing. Consider reforming the Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) to ensure support for rural farmers,” stated the bishops.
The prelates further expressed the need for the government to restore the dilapidated agricultural infrastructure, prioritize water harvesting mechanism for irrigation agriculture improve extension services delivery and food security strategies such as the Green Belt Initiative which “are still limping yet provides a glaring hope to food security.”
“We need sustainable and innovative ways of supporting the rural farmers who are the most affected population to food insecurity despite being producers,” said the bishops.
In April 2016, President Mutharika declared a state of national disaster over food shortages attributed to erratic climate conditions, in particular to the severe drought which affected the crops.