6.5 million Malawians needs food assistance – Minister Chaponda

Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, George Chaponda has  said 6.5 million people require food assistance.

Chaponda: Presented to House state of food situation
Chaponda: Presented to House state of food situation

He said this in Parliament on Monday when he was giving a ministerial statement on food situation in the country.

The Minister said this was reviewed by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessments Committee during the humanitarian response plan.

“Out of the number that is requiring food assistance; 3 million people have already been reached in 11 districts with food while 469, 576 will benefit from social cash transfer from 9 districts,” Chaponda explained adding that the support will be for the period of three to nine months.

He also assured members of parliament that government is looking at short, medium and long term plans to deal with the food situation in the country.

Chaponda said the country will diverse from rain agriculture to irrigation agriculture and they are engaging farmers so that the country can produce more.

“President Professor Peter Mutharika will on November 30, 2016 launch a new agriculture and irrigation plan as one way of dealing with food situation in the country,” he said.

Chaponda then advised farmers to work hard as the growing season has just commenced and that the production seems to be promising as it has been predicted.

He said on commercial, Agricultural Development Market Cooperation (ADMARC) has maize in stock which is selling at K250 per kg and K12, 500 a 50 kilogram bag.

Chaponda when asked to consider reducing the price of maize further, he said the normal price was at K312 per kg and they have reduced with K62 and they cannot go beyond that saying ARMARC is a commercial entity and the money they used to buy maize was borrowed.

Members of Parliament were not happy with the price of maize saying that the poor of the poorest cannot afford to buy a 50 kg bag on such a price.

Some members said people are refusing to buy maize at ADMARC and its outlets opting to buy from vendors as they are offering a bit lower prices.

Other members also asked the minister to consider some districts that have been left out on free food distribution.

Parliament meeting  started on Monday November 21 and is expected to end at December 16, 2016. Some of the expected discussions include: the outstanding businesses that were left during the last seating, bills and private business.

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