This project was designed and implemented (January 2003-November 2004) in response to Malawi's severe food crisis in 2002, caused by the drought and floods in 2001 and 2002, which resulted in a significant drop in maize output, the country's main staple food. The food crisis was exacerbated by a suboptimal harvest in the previous year. In addition, the Early Warning System (EWS) failed by predicting a food surplus when in fact a major food deficit was looming. Poor management of the Strategic Grain Reserve and an over-reliance on maize in the diet were additional factors which compounded the crisis. This combination of an IDA credit of $29 million equivalent and a grant of $21 million equivalent were used to finance 3 components. (i) Quick disbursing assistance to support critical imports through a positive list of import requirements linked to the drought and recovery efforts; (ii) Augmentation of the purchasing power of families whose incomes had been reduced as a result of the crisis; and (iii) Support for project implementation, technical assistance and studies. The bulk of the credit/grant ($40 million equivalent) went to support the first component.
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