Minister of State, Conor Lenihan T.D., announces €1 million for Malawi
Announcement brings to more than €66m the Government's commitments for emergency and recovery operations worldwide this year
Mr. Conor Lenihan, T.D., Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, today announced a contribution of €1 million to the United Nations Appeal for Malawi. The appeal is designed both to tackle immediate food needs and to address the growing food crisis, through the provision of seed and fertiliser to small holder farmers in time for the planting season in October-November.
Minister Lenihan said:
“We have to anticipate where the crises are in food security and supply. The Secretary General has appealed to donors to tackle the growing food crisis in Southern Africa and this contribution is part of our overall response to that call.
By providing this early assistance to Malawi, we are hoping to increase yields and offset the impact of recent droughts.
With the example of Niger so fresh in our minds, we have to learn the lesson that early intervention is far less costly both financially and in human suffering than addressing a later famine situation.
Malawi suffers from both a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and chronic poverty. We have to break the cycle of recurrent crises. That means tackling the root causes of food insecurity, one of the greatest obstacles to poverty reduction.
Our support for this Appeal is also an affirmation of the vigorous efforts of the Government of Malawi to tackle the crisis”.
Note for Editors
Inadequate rainfall and insufficient access to agricultural inputs (seed/fertiliser) has led to the worst food crisis in Malawi since 1994. Contributory factors to the food insecurity has been the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and chronic poverty. With a decline in this year's maize crop of 29% compared to an already poor harvest of 2004 an estimated 4.2 million people (out of a population of 12.6 million - 34%) will not be able to meet their minimum food requirements from now until the next harvest in March 2006.
Mr. Jan Egeland, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, described this innovative approach thus: ”this Appeal is truly forward looking in that it attempts to avert hunger and at the same time promote sustainable recovery of livelihoods. Investing in prevention will prove much more cost effective than providing emergency assistance year after year.”
The purpose of the Appeal is to head off a crisis later this year by providing a two track approach to the food crisis. The first track concerns the provision of food aid to tackle the immediate crisis; the second track aims to increase local production now (the October-November planting) to off-set a food crisis in the traditionally lean December to March period. Ireland has already provided over €2m for the food crisis in Southern Africa this year.
This support package is designed to support local production now by providing €750,000 assistance for seed/fertiliser support packages to smallholder farmers and €250,000 to assist product diversification. It supports the objective of enhancing the food security of two million farming households through early intervention and diversification.
9th September 2005