Presbyterian World Service & Development is pleased to share the news that a new program has been approved in partnership with Canadian Foodgrains Bank—a coalition of 15 church-based agencies working together with the common goal of ending hunger. With the Blantyre Synod Health and Development Committee (BSHDC), PWS&D and CFGB* will be implementing a six-month, $920,000 dollar project to aid farmers in central and southern Malawi.

 Dry Spells Affecting 1.6 Million People

During the 2011/2012 growing season, central and southern Malawi experienced prolonged dry spells, causing crops to fail, affecting 1.6 million people. More than 40,000 farmers in Balaka are in need of assistance due to the drought.

Families have harvested just enough food for one to two months and households do not have other sources of income to access food from the markets. During difficult periods like this, coping strategies often include selling assets (like land or animals), withdrawing kids from school and engaging in day labour during the farming season, leaving fields unplanted. All of these strategies make recovery that much more difficult further down the line.

Bridging the Gap

In order to help bridge the gap, PWS&D and their partners will provide food packages to 5,000 farm families (representing approximately 25,000 individuals) in the drought-affected Balaka District from October 2012 to March 2013. Families will receive maize, beans, salt and cooking oil.

This relief is intended to help sustain or increase household food intake, protect livelihoods and reduce other negative coping mechanisms that lead to further hunger and poverty. The food aid will be distributed to the most marginalized of the food insecure groups – including households headed by children, the elderly, females and the physically challenged, as well as household infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

*This project is generously receiving funds from the United Church of Canada and Canadian Baptist Ministries through CFGB. Funds are also being maximized through the contributions of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).