Despite government’s intervention to households perpetually affected by hunger year in year out; the story remains the same for most of the beneficiaries under the initiative as they don't graduate from the programme to become food secure.
Dependency syndrome, misuse and low uptake of farm Inputs are some of the factors leading to chronic food insecurity in most of the affected districts.
According to the Department of disaster management affairs (DODMA), there is noticeable low uptake of the subsidized Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) by some quarters.
Currently the cash transfers are pegged at K25,000 per household; per month; while households targeted under maize distribution would be reached out to with a 50kg bag of maize per month.
Speaking during a press briefing in Lilongwe, DODMA Commissioner Charles Kalemba disclosed that rather than using the inputs, some beneficiaries opt sell them off to unscrupulous people for cash.
He called for paradigm shift and mindset change on the food handouts.
The Commissioner cited some anomalies in cash transfers covering the November requirements implemented by partners in Balaka, Chikwawa and Phalombe districts.
Reports of corruption by traditional leaders who were asking for kickbacks from beneficiaries were rife.
Kalemba bemoaned the malpractice which he noted defeats government’s plan of reducing hunger.
“There is noticeable low uptake of the subsidized Affordable Inputs Programme by some quarters who do not utilize the inputs but sell off to unscrupulous people leading to low production.
“Cash transfers covering the November requirements have been implemented by partners in Balaka, Chikwawa and Phalombe districts and distributions covering the December requirements are being finalized following a temporary suspension of the programme due to some malpractices such as ghost beneficiaries and forced-sharing. Meanwhile, the issues have been resolved and the programme has resumed”.
On 18th January, Senior Chief Kaduya fired Group village headman Chabuka on allegations that he was collecting money ranging from K3, 000 to K5, 000 on pretext that they will be helped to access AIP.
He was claiming the money was for fuel top up to small holder farmer’s fertilizer revolving fund of Malawi (SFFRFM).
The Department and partners plans to distribute relief maize and cash transfers covering the January to February requirements from week beginning 23rd January, 2023.
It has already transferred funds earmarked for cash transfers to the targeted councils.
The Strategic Grain Reserve and Commercial Maize approved a drawdown of 62,435 metric tonnes relief maize which is being used for the programme in targeted councils.
Among other efforts, the department and some partners are distributing ‘double rations’ while some partners will be doing ‘once-off’ distributions to cover the January up to March requirements.