Malawi leader says no hunger panic, assures of relief food

Malawian President Joyce Banda has again assured that no person will die of hunger in the wake of reported food shortages in the country, saying her administration will provide relief food.

Banda , who faces elections next year, said Wednesday when presided over the official elevation ceremony of Chief Chiwalo of Phalombe who is now Senior Chief Chiwalo, that there is no need for panic as  her government is doing everything possible to ensure that food supplies reach every household that is in need.

“However, let me assure the nation including the people of Phalombe that government is doing everything possible to help hungry households with food donations. I was in the Unites States of America recently where I managed to source USD18 million, which will be used to buy relief food,” said President Banda during the function aired on state broadcaster MBC.

Nearly 1.5 million households are currently in need of food assistance as the lean season approaches, according to a report from the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC), a group comprising government departments, UN agencies and non-governmental organisations.

President Banda confers with Phalombe East MP and former Finance Minister Ken Lipenga at the ceremony

In its report MVAC stated: “While the most severe levels of hunger are not expected until the height of the lean season in January to February, WFP (UN World Food Programme) and its partners decided to launch their joint relief operation in October because of evidence that household food stocks in many areas were already depleted.”

Some concerned citizens believe private traders are deliberately hoarding maize to cash in during the leanest parts of the year.

In April, there were reports that 30 000 metric tons of maize that could be used now went bad in the grain reserves in Lilongwe. The opposition and civil society are demanding answers from government.

According to the Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet), the problem that caused the maize to rot at the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) silos in Lilongwe was first noticed three years ago under the DPP rule.

The First Couple presents their gifts to the royal family

The President also donated blankets to Phalombe Assemblies of God Church

Part of the crowd that witnessed the official elevation of Senior Chief Chiwalo

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