Chakwera orders govt to put in place measures to avert looming hunger, food shortages

President Dr Lazarus Chakwera has ordered the government to put in place measures to avert a looming hunger and food shortages after a report shows at least 3.8 million people will be hit by food shortages

Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe said President Chakwera does not want anyone to go hungry or die of hunger as long as he is State President.

The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee report shows that at least 3.8 million people or 20 per cent of the population are expected to face high levels of acute food insecurity.


At 3.8 million, this is the highest number of acute food insecurity population in the last five years compared to 3.3 million in the 2018/19 consumption year and 1.49 million in the 2021/22 consumption year.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has warned that the rising food prices triggered by a global food crisis will drive millions of people into extreme poverty and erase economic gains, especially in low-income countries such as Malawi.

In its latest food security update, the Bretton Woods institution said the war in Ukraine, which has caused supply chain disruptions and the continued economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic are reversing years of development gains and pushing food prices to all-time highs.

In a published blog on Wednesday, World Bank sustainable development vice-president Juergen Voegele said rising food prices will have a greater impact on people in low and middle-income countries.

Maize prices continue to rise on the local market

He said: “A significant number of people, especially in low-income countries, are running out of food or reducing their consumption in the first two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, a situation which could reduce calorie intake and threaten gains in poverty reduction.

“The global food crisis has been partially made worse by the growing number of food trade restrictions put in place by countries with a goal of increasing domestic supply and reducing prices.”

Voegele observed that food price inflation remains high around the world, highlighting that there is high inflation in almost all low-income countries, resulting in 92.9 percent of poor countries experiencing inflation levels above five percent with many recording double-digit inflation.

In Malawi, inflation, the rate of general increase in prices of goods and services over a given period, has been on the rise for the past months, largely on account of rising commodity prices, especially food prices.

In a space of seven months, the inflation rate has doubled from 12.1 percent in January to 24.6 percent as of July, according to the National Statistical Office figures.

Maize, as part of the Consumer Price Index, a measure of price change in a basket of constant quantity and quality of goods and services, contributes about 52 percent to the inflation basket in Malawi.

Between January and July this year, food inflation has risen from 14.2 percent in January to 32.5 percent in July, according to NSO data.

Catholic University of Malawi economics lecturer Hopkins Kawaye in an interview on Sunday agreed with the report, saying the rising food prices, which are anchoring inflation domestically, are fuelling poverty.

“Consumers now have to dig deeper into their pockets to purchase goods and services as well as maintain their living standards. This is affecting most Malawians who cannot afford to increase their expenditure in view of the rising commodity prices. Instead, they will have to cut expenses thus increasing poverty levels,” he said.


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