FAO, Malawi Government sign U$2 Million pact to build resilience
Project to strengthen capacity of vulnerable households to withstand shocks
31 March 2014, Lilongwe, Malawi - The Malawi government says it appreciates the financial and technical support it receives from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) aimed at assisting vulnerable and resource-constraint people in the country.
Speaking on Friday during a signing ceremony of the U$2 million project with funding from the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) as part of the 28th African Regional Conference in Tunis, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr James Munthali, said the project had come at the right time when the situation was dire requiring immediate support.
“The money for which the agreement is being signed today will go a long way in enhancing the current efforts in Malawi aimed at building capacity of vulnerable households to meet their basic needs and withstand shocks,” said the minister.
Under the ASTF, Malawi has received U$2 million to support an integrated approach to building the resilience of vulnerable communities to climatic shocks in one of worst affected districts. The project aims to directly target between 33, 000 and 44, 000 beneficiaries (6 000-8 000 households), with special attention to women and people affected by HIV.
The Fund is one of the few Africa-led innovative mechanisms of mobilizing resources from Africa for Africa, which intends to strengthen food security across the continent by assisting countries such as Malawi to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, eliminate rural poverty and manage natural resources across the continent in a sustainable manner.
Although Malawi did not attend the five-day African Regional Conference in Tunis, the Minister said government was willing to join the other five beneficiary countries – Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Mali, the Niger and South Sudan – during the signing ceremony but faced challenges beyond its control.
“We would have liked to sign this document in the presence of the Director-General. But your presence here also signifies the Director-General. Please express our appreciation to FAO for what is happening to Malawi,” the minister told FAO Representative in Malawi, Florence Rolle.
Recent support towards red locust control
Apart from the U$2 million support, Dr James Munthali also cited FAO’s recent support towards the control of red locusts which might ravage parts of the Southern Region in Malawi, saying “you have come at the right time when the risk is very high.”
There is a possibility of an imminent red locust outbreak within the districts surrounding the Lake Chilwa basin where nymphs have been reported and could develop into full grown locusts which could form swarms and damage crops during the off season and into the next cropping season.
Besides the red locust control support, the minister also acknowledged FAO’s commitment and support in other areas like food security, nutrition, resilience, post-harvest loss reduction management, and improvement of agriculture statistics, among others.
Linkage with government programmes
Taking her turn, the FAO Representative Florence Rolle assured the minister of FAO’s strong commitment to work with the Government of Malawi and assist in any way possible in line with its mandate.
“Thank you for organizing this ceremony to sign the documents, just as what is happening in Tunis now with the other five countries,” she said.
The FAO Representative said the U$2 million project was crucial as it would help link various government programmes such as the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP), Social Cash Transfer, Public Works Programme and humanitarian programmes.
She explained that the project would work in areas that are vulnerable to climatic shocks and where the UN in Malawi has a robust understanding of the situation and capacity on the ground.
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