It has been a terrible year for Malawi’s farmers. Tearfund and our partners are working hard to offer support.

The worst El Niño* weather on record has wreaked havoc across much of the world, leaving Malawi, among other nations, facing the crippling contrast of heavy rains and arid droughts.

Food shortages in Malawi are likely to be lowest between October and March (when the next harvest is due). Until then the need is acute.

In April, President Mutharika appealed for 1.2 million tonnes of maize for the 25 affected districts. Meanwhile the UK’s international development minister James Wharton has declared that ’Support for people affected by El Niño is important to Africa and firmly in Britain’s interest.’

THE RESPONSE

Tearfund’s local church partners in Malawi are working hard to respond to the current crisis:

Families are being supported with cash transfers so they can buy food and seeds for the upcoming farming season. Tearfund and our partners are also providing training on how to cope with future disasters.

In the long term Tearfund is training local church partners to establish Self-Help Groups in communities, helping people become more resilient – learning about the changing climate and how to adapt.

GETTING PREPARED

According to Tearfund’s Vincent Moyo ‘Food outlets need to be stocked now before the situation becomes catastrophic. It’s not too early to start talking about debt relief for Malawi, because the hole that’ll be left by this food shortage will take a long time to be filled and derail most development initiatives.’ 

Meanwhile, the South African Development Community says that 23 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance and a further 13 million do not have secure access to food. It’s calling on world governments to pledge billions in aid.

Other countries seriously affected by El Niño currently include Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and Haiti.

*El Niño is a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean with a global impact on weather patterns.