World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Malawi: UN Agency Appeals For Donor Aid

Malawi: UN Agency Appeals For Donor Aid To Prevent Food Crisis From Worsening

With Malawi facing its worst food crisis in more than a decade due to drought, floods, consecutive poor harvests, endemic poverty and the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today appealed for urgent donor assistance to prevent the crisis from deteriorating further later this year.

“The impacts of the failed harvest won't be felt fully until the lean season sets in between October and April,” the FAO emergency coordinator in the southern African country, Tesfai Ghermazien, said, noting that more than 4.2 million people, or over 34 per cent of the population, are already unable to meet their food needs.

“We need urgent assistance from the donor community to prevent a further escalation of the crisis and to avert widespread hunger and malnutrition, especially among children under the age of five,” he added.

“The challenge is to provide immediate relief supplies to the affected populations and to design long-term recovery strategies to avert similar situations in the future. The promotion of drought-tolerant crops and crop diversification, for example, will help mitigate the impacts of droughts.”

Production of maize, Malawi's most important staple crop, is estimated at nearly 1.3 million tons this year, the lowest in a decade and around 26 per cent less than last year's relatively poor harvest. Early and above average rains had raised hopes for a good crop, but the rains failed during the critical period from late January to end of February.

In addition, exceptionally heavy rains in December and early January caused flooding and crop losses, especially in the southern and central part of the country.

Agriculture, which is mainly rain fed, is the most important sector of the economy, accounting for about 39 per cent of gross domestic product and employing around 85 per cent of the workforce. It contributes to more than 90 per cent of the country's foreign exchange earnings.

In recent years, the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters, such as droughts and floods, have seriously affected crop production. This year's drought is expected to result in a national cereal gap of between 300,000 to 500,000 tons.

The HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to be a major social and economic problem, with around 15 per cent of the population estimated to be HIV-infected, and the loss of labour due to death, illness or the diversion of labour to care for the sick has sharply affected production and left a large part of the population without adequate food supplies.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news