By Alfred Mthandizi
Malawi Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Country Representative Florence Rolle has called upon Malawians to diversify food consumption especially during this time when the country is just healing from the El Nino attack that has affected the country for consecutive years.
With help from the Italian government, FAO is implementing a $1 billion El Nino emergency response project in Salima, Balaka, Mwanza, Phalombe, Kasungu, Neno, Mzimba, Blantyre and Nsanje.
Salima’s District Agriculture Development Officer (DADO) is commending FAO and Italy for the project touting the potential life changes the project has for the lives of all Malawians who were affected by El Nino.
“The good news is that people have welcomed this project because we are not experiencing any problems in implementing it. What we can say is time has come for Malawi to diversify our food intake than relying only on nsima as food,” Rolle said, referring to the flour-and-water food staple in Malawi.
Rolle said the project will help to boost the agro-dealer business which will in turn improve the economy.
Italian Ambassador to Malawi Filippo Scammacca Del Murgo said the Italian government is committed to help Malawi get back on its feet despite the grave El Nino attack that hit the country.
“We continue assisting the Malawi government through FAO so that people are able to return to their normal lives,” Murgo said.
The Malawi agricultural sector experienced severe climatic shocks during the 2014 and 2015, and 2015 and 2016 cropping season. This negatively impacted rural communities whose main livelihood is rain-fed smallholder farming.
As a result of the severe El Nino attack, Malawi Government devised a food insecurity response plan worth $380 million to guide the plan’s implementation in the country.