When food stocks are out

A timely relief for vulnerable families in Malawi

Tawonga Ng'oma
May 17, 2019 · 3 min read
Lean season response beneficiaries receiving cash during a distribution. Photo WFP/Badre Bahaji

“This maize has come at the right time. I do not know what my family and I would have done without it.” This is what Susanne Makoza has to say about the assistance she has received from the Government of Malawi and WFP thanks to USAID’s support. Living in Balaka, Southern Malawi, she is one of the people targeted for cash top-up transfers in addition to Government’s Lean Season Response maize distribution.

“I do not know what my family and I would have done without it”

“Last year was not a good year for me, the rains were too scarce for my crop to do well enough to feed my family. In fact, I ran out of food in August. Since then, I have had to rely on odd jobs to buy food.”

Susanne Makoza had to rely on odd jobs to feed her family as her crops had been affected by drought. Photo: WFP/Tawonga Ng’oma

“Those months were tough. All the money I got from the piecework I could find had to be used for food. We rarely had money for other things.” Susanne is the sole breadwinner for her family of eight. “My plot of land which usually produces about seven bags of maize in a good year, only produced three bags last year. We had to cut down on the food we ate each day so it would last us longer.”

“The rains were too scarce for my crop to do well enough to feed my family.”

Susanne has to provide for her her seven children. Photo: WFP/Tawonga Ng’oma

Being the most food-insecure period of the year, the lean season brought despair to Susanne and her family. It meant she had no food for the period between December and March which is also when she was to farm her land. “This support has saved my life. My family and I would have starved. Can you imagine needing to farm but having no food to eat at the same time?”

Thanks to the maize from the Government of Malawi and the cash top-up from WFP (made possible by the support of USAID), Susanne was able to feed her family during the Lean Season, as well as work on her piece of land for the 2018/2019 growing season. “The rain was better this year and I have even started harvesting, look at this!” She points at her maize.

Susanne with her newly harvested maize. Photo: WFP/Tawonga Ng’oma

Susanne is one of the 916,000 people targeted by WFP with USAID-supported cash transfers in six pf the country’s most food-insecure districts. The cash top-up was to complement the maize distributed by the Government with pulses and vegetable oil to allow for a more balanced and healthy diet.

Read more about WFP’s work in Malawi

World Food Programme Insight

Insight by The World Food Programme

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