World Food Program cuts assistance to Mozambique due to fall in donor funding

13 November 2006

Maputo, Mozambique, 13 Nov – A reduction of more than 70% in donor funding has forced the Word Food Program to reduce its feeding operations in Mozambique to vulnerable populations at a time when crop harvests still remain distant, officials have said.

The WFP in Mozambique needs US$ 10 million to feed 460,000 people in the country by March 2007, when the next harvest is due.

The WFP currently provides direct assistance to 292,000 vulnerable Mozambicans but a 77% shortfall in its funding has obliged the UN agency to cut by at least a half its handouts of corn and soya bean.

Paulo Zacula, director of Mozambique’s National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC), expressed great concern at the weakened WFP assistance, noting that nearly 300,000 people are without food security.

Zacula also said that the nutritionally vulnerable people live in arid areas of Mozambique where it is not possible to plant crops, adding that the country is now entering the season of tropical rain and flooding, which could further worsen the situation.

The WFP’s director in Mozambique, Karin Manente, said there should currently be food stocks in areas that become inaccessible during such emergencies, but due to a shortfall in funding such measures have been suspended until fresh donations are received.

One of the reasons for a fall in donations is Mozambique’s abundant harvests this year.

Provisional figures show that the country produced 2.3 million tons of cereals this year, including stocks in warehouses, to supply an estimated annual national consumption of 2.6 million tons.

“Although we have reduced our activities, there are pockets of food insecurity and we continue to appeal to the donors to support us”, added the WFP’s director in Mozambique. (macauhub)