The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) says it will donate nearly $840,000 to Catholic Relief Services to help alleviate Malawi's severe food shortage.

The agency says the money will provide seeds and fertilizer that small farming households can use for planting in coming weeks.

In September, it promised $400,000 to the U.N. Children's Fund to monitor the nutritional status of Malawi's children.

The U.S government agency has already donated more than 50,000 metric tons of food to Malawi through the U.N. World Food Program.

Experts say poor rainfall across Malawi this year, combined with inadequate supplies of fertilizer, adversely affected the country's staple corn (maize) crop.

In October, the government declared a national disaster and appealed for help. Aid agencies say five million of Malawi's 12 million people need food aid.