Declare state of emergency on food, civil society tells Malawi President

An umbrella of some civil society groups in the country have asked President Peter Mutharika to declare a state of emergency over the prevailing food crisis and direct that maize should be sold at a regulated price.

Women queue to buy maize at Zingwangwa Admarc depot

Women queue to buy maize at Zingwangwa Admarc depot

Unandi Banda, one of the members of Civil Society for Constructive Dialogue said the current food situation is alarming as people are spending days on end at Admarc depots waiting for the staple food.

“It is a very pathetic situation we have. Women are literally sleeping at Admarc depots in anticipation of cheap maize. The is degrading, this is why we are asking the President to declare the state of emergency,” said Banda.

Private traders are selling a 50kg bag of maize at K19000 in Blantyre and K13000 in Lilongwe while Admarc sells the same bag at K5500 but maize is hardly found in Admarc depots.

Banda said during the state of emergency, the government should set a maximum price for a bag of maize for all traders to make the staple food affordable to ordinary struggling Malawians.

“We have a liberalised economy yes but these are hard times. The government needs to come up with a policy that should save an ordinary Malawian from death.

“Government can say a bag of maize be sold at K6, 000 then we will save more lives. We need to save people’s lives,” he said.

In addition, Banda echoed calls to have Malawi Defense Force soldiers deployed at Admarc depots to bring sanity in the state run grain company whose members of staff are blamed for massive corruption that has led to persistent shortage of maize.

The government is yet to comment on the suggestion.

Media reports say some people have now resorted to buying maize husks (madeya) usually reserved for animals as food shortages hits hard especially in the central and northern regions.

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12 thoughts on “Declare state of emergency on food, civil society tells Malawi President”

  1. Sapitwa says:

    State of emergency really? This story tells us that Maize is available at ADMARC but it’s corrupt officials sell it to Vendors hence plenty out there at high prices.
    Problem is corruption at ADMARC. We are also told about problems with Dustribution from the Silos to ADMARC depots thus problem is transport.
    If Iam Minister of Agriculture today, I can sort this nonses in just 7 days, just 7 days, just 7 days. Heads would roll I promise and this is not a problem at all. It just needs a Bulldozer doer and Iam the one! APM , you may hire me temporarily on this and I will deliver for you;I promise and trust me.

  2. NAWE says:

    there is alot of stealing in ADMARC. Check around Area 23 u will find alot of maize in ADMARC sacks. Most big traders are politicians. They are heartless humans, its their pay day fo this hunger. Serious govts prevent hunger during harvesting period not in the lean period. Hence chalenge me if this is deliberately made

  3. Amahefu says:

    Sanseless aguements most malawians has low thinking capacity. When they harvest they sell their produce to venders not to their storage admarc blaming that admarc is buying them at lower prices and when venders hits them they say admarc is not helping them where do they think admarc would have get maize to feed them? I dont agree with you bwana to call for state of immegency. We have invited this woo therefore let us bare it for better tomorrow and people are crowding themselves in town looking for greener pastures but green is in fields go to your field see what God will going to do for you life

  4. Manuel says:

    I need to be enlightened here. Did we ask for STATE OF EMMERGENCY(like was case on 3rd march 1959) or STATE OF DISASTER(like january 2015)?

  5. TK says:

    Allan Chiyembekeza and Goodall Gondwe must go.

  6. F.M. BANDA says:

    Thanks to these civil groups people are starving they are buying madeya at mk180 per kg here in phalombe price of maize here is mk12500 per bag of kgs and most these traders are politicians i totally agree that government should set uniform price for maize during this hard time

  7. kamuzu's pupil says:

    During Kamuzu erra, we were taught that in agriculture lesson that 23-21-0 is applied first and urea later. We had bamper yield. This time vice versa in fertiliser subsity. Very poor yield.

    Which school did our hounorable agriculture minister learnt. Fertiliser is being distributed this time when maize is now tasseling. Food for thought for the government.

  8. LOMWE says:

    @ matinga

    Trust. is there any well sensed person out there who still has trust in this government. I doubt. I for one withdrew my trust in this inept peter and his government 15 months ago. There is nothing like leadership in this country. We have by all standard and measure the worst president in the history of this country. Always absent from duty. Pathetic

  9. Dickson says:

    From my knowledge on the behavior of economic variables, setting a maximum price can NOT work. What is needed for the Malawi Government as of now is NOT to arrest vendors, NOT to set maximum prices for vendors’ commodities and NOT to burn vendors from selling maize. What Malawi Government must DO to save lives is just to supply the commodity and make it available to the neediest people.

    It is not the vendors who are raising maize price, but it is

    1. the scarcity of maize and
    2. the hardship the vendors are passing through to get the maize.

  10. Romento says:

    Even without declaring a state of emergency, this DPP government has two effective institutions which it has inexplicably not used in this crisis up to now: The VP and the army. During the lower shire floods last year the country saw how these two institutions quickly got to grips with the problem.

    However, Chilima’s effectiveness was his own undoing as many people started drawing unfavourable comparisons with his boss. From that time SKC has had his wings clipped and I have no doubt that APM, Chaponda, Mwanavenkha, Henry Mussa and other DPP bigwigs would rather see Malawians starve to death than see SKC’s star rise again.

    But even if SKC cannot be used, why not use the army on its own? The army has lots of experience in these matters. They have assisted even beyond Malawi’s borders. The army can assist in logistics and keeping order at Admarc markets. And they won’t be running for office in 2019 or 2024! Why is it that with APM and DPP politics is everything? Don’t they know that by not acting properly they are alienating even their own power base, the southern region? Those poor people queuing for husks are at Nguludi in Chiradzulu district…

  11. Matinga says:

    I think Unandi’s are brilliant suggestion although coming late but not too late. I would be losing the little trust left for this government if the suggestions above are not quickly taken on board.

  12. mphatso says:

    Also state of emergency for kwacha depreciation, it is depreciating every days for last 6 months, this is the worst financial crisis in the histroy of Malawi post colonial rule

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