Cisanet demands criminalization of right to food violation

The Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet) has called on government to set up a framework law on Right to Food to criminalize any violations on people access to food, politicization of food, demanding sexual favors in exchange for food, among others.

Tamani Nkhono Mvula
Tamani Nkhono Mvula

Cisanet has since applauded government for reinforcing regulations of trading of agriculture produce in the country in an effort to bring sanity on the market.

Cisanet National Director Tamani Nkhono-Mvula said trading of agriculture produce in Malawi is generally chaotic “whereby everyone can decide to hung up weighing scales that are in most cases not seized by the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS)”.

“The weighing scales are sometimes tampered with by unscrupulous vendors to dupe unsuspecting farmers of their hard earned farm produce,” said Nkhono-Mvula in a statement made available to Nyasa Times.

“The measures taken by the Government of Malawi have come at the right time when the country faces food deficit due to the impact of strong El Nino conditions during the 2015/2016 growing season.  As you may recall, the 2014/2015 growing season was also one of the worst seasons
in the country”.

Malawi experienced the worst floods in living memory which were followed by prolonged dry spells in a lot of districts. This resulted in a sharp decline in maize production rendering about 2.8 million people in 25 districts food insecure.

During that time, vendors went on the market earlier to procure agricultural produce such as maize but hoarded the same during the lean period causing untold suffering of most Malawians who looked up to them for survival.

“We found this to be an irresponsible behaviour as it was a violation of people’s right to food. The efforts taken by the Government of Malawi to regulate the trading of agricultural produce will not only regulate and bring sanity on the market but will also ensure that those who bought the produce can be held to accountable,” he added.

Nkhono-Mvula said government should consider developing a framework law on the right to food as was recommended by the UN official on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, as observed in 2013 following his visit to Malawi.

The framework law on Right to Food, according to Nkhono-Mvula, will criminalize any violations on people access to food, politicization of food, demanding sexual favors in exchange for food, among others.

“We are therefore applauding the Government of Malawi for the initiative taken to reinforce the regulations in the trading of agricultural commodities and we pledge our support ensuring that the regulations are made known to the farmers”.

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