The main opposition’s Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president who is also leader of opposition in Parliament, Dr Lazarus Chakwera has commented on Pesident Peter Mutharika declaration of the state of national disaster following hunger situation due to persistent of floods and dry spells. attributing persistent hunger crisist o lack of political will toward eradication of problem despite huge investments on Farm Inputs Subsidy Program (FISP) .
Chakwera and MCP leadership was speaking in Lilongwe during a news conference to inform the nation on his tour from Portugal where, among others, he was handed over the Vice Presidency for the Christian Democratic Institute (CDI-Africa region).
He argued that most officials in government have taken advantage of the program reaping public funds without putting strategic ways in addressing the challenge.
“Climate change whose impacts including dry spells, floods, heavy rainfalls are natural phenomenon which we can’t blame God for that. This is the situation all over the world but it’s the political will which cope up with these challenges.
“Why could the entire nation be starving of food with plenty of water bodies whereas irrigation farming can be Ideal for Malawi? But what we see, it’s huge investments in FISP which is marred with corruptions as most governing party officials reap a lot from the initiative. The unfortunate part is that they don’t take advice when we say the nation needs to graduate and put coping mechanism in addressing the food crisis.
“Therefore, it’s good news to here that the current leadership has succumbed to pressure of buying the irrigation idea as the way forward for this nation. Even declaring this time around a state of natural disaster, has come too late while those who could support starving families are far much to reach as were waiting this call long time ago”, observed Chakwera.
Chakwera was accompanied by Deputy Secretary General ElsenhowerMkaka, Director of Legal affairs, Peter Chakhwantha and Director of Elections, Maxwell Thyolera.
Commenting on tobacco marketing, Chakwera called upon tobacco buyers to consider increasing prices of buying the leaf at the auctions in order to allow farmers be able to repay their loans.
He asked the government to be at the forefront protecting the farmers.
Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) President Alfred Kapichira Banda recently expressed dissatisfaction over the tobacco prices on the first day of tobacco sales.
Kapichira Banda said tobacco farmers will not be able to repay their farm input loans.
“These poor prices coupled with the appreciation of the kwacha will diminish projected earnings of the farmer,” he said.
He said the tobacco farmer was growing tobacco when the kwacha was hovering around K1000 to a dollar saying which means they took the agricultural loan when the kwacha was trading at K1000 to a dollar.
However he said they are selling the tobacco when the kwacha is hovering around K600 to a dollar.
Mkaka wondered why the green gold’s buyers were offering low prices with high rejection rates while the same buyers were buying the crop with good prices in neighboring Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique attributing the same to poor leadership where investors dictate for this nation instead of the authority that be.
Chakwera has since called upon Government to find lasting solution over the problem.
During the news conference Chakwera also queried high interests rates by local bank.
This comes following reports that Malawi is ranked among ten countries in the world with high interests rate.
Commenting on state of the nation disaster, Chakwera asked government to speed up humanitarian efforts in order to lessen suffering of the Malawians in the flood-hit areas like Mzuzu.
Chakwera took time to apologise to journalists who protested that the party takes them for for granted by keeping them for hours unattended to every time it calls for a news conference.
For today, let me take the blame for the delay. I was held up somehow on my way here. I was attending to some pressing issues I cannot give details on right now but I agree it was not fair holding you up like that.
“As a party, we are very sorry. We hope to improve on time management.” Chakwera said.
The news conference was scheduled to start at 10:00 AM, but reporters had to wait for almost two hours before Chakwera came to address them.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :