Government has moved in swiftly to stabilise the price of maize which has hit K7, 000 per 50 kg bag in some markets.
President Peter Mutharika announced on Monday during his National Address on Food Security at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe that Admarc depots would now be stocked with maize as way of making the supply of grain exceed its demand.
In addition, Mutharika said, relief maize distribution would start next month with the K3 billion maize government bought from Zambia.
At the pace of maize price hikes, consumers expected a price of the 50 kg bag to hit over K25000 by January next year from K4000 last year.
Mutharika said government would also buy another consignment of maize at K2 million, assuring Malawians that they would not starve as long as his government was in power.
Malawi is faced with food shortages because of floods in some areas and drought in other areas.
“There have always been people facing hunger in recent years, but the situation this year is the worst compared to the other years,” Mutharika pointed out.
“During the floods, 106 people were killed and 172 people were reported missing and the magnitude of the floods caused my government to swiftly move in and, as you will recall, I declared a state of national disaster in the 15 most affected districts and I appealed for assistance on 13th January, 2015,” he said.
The President said the affected population of 2.8 million is spread in 24 districts of Chitipa, Karonga and Mzimba in the Northern Region; Dedza, Dowa, Kasungu, Lilongwe, Mchinji Nkhotakota, Ntcheu and Salima in the Central Region; and Balaka, Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Machinga, Mangochi, Mulanje, Mwanza, Neno, Nsanje, Phalombe, Thyolo and Zomba in the Southern Region.
The food shortages are coming at a time when the country is faced with acute economic problems as the government seems to be clueless on how to handle the situation which is dire and severe.
Malawi’s traditional donors withdrew their budgetary support to Malawi due to embezzlement of public money in what is commonly known as cashgate.
“Total of 2,833,212 people will not be able to meet their annual food requirement. In view of this I would like to appeal to all the development partners, other countries, and non-governmental organizations both in Malawi and elsewhere to complement government sources in assisting the food-insecure households,” said Mutharika.
Mutharika said an updated national food assessment will be released in mid-October by the Malawi – Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC).
“Based on the historical trend, that assessment is likely to show a larger number of people facing hunger than is the case now,” he said.
Mutharika has since appealed for international help to cope with an expected food shortage.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :