An umbrella of some civil society groups in the country have asked President Peter Mutharika to declare a state of emergency over the prevailing food crisis and direct that maize should be sold at a regulated price.
Unandi Banda, one of the members of Civil Society for Constructive Dialogue said the current food situation is alarming as people are spending days on end at Admarc depots waiting for the staple food.
“It is a very pathetic situation we have. Women are literally sleeping at Admarc depots in anticipation of cheap maize. The is degrading, this is why we are asking the President to declare the state of emergency,” said Banda.
Private traders are selling a 50kg bag of maize at K19000 in Blantyre and K13000 in Lilongwe while Admarc sells the same bag at K5500 but maize is hardly found in Admarc depots.
Banda said during the state of emergency, the government should set a maximum price for a bag of maize for all traders to make the staple food affordable to ordinary struggling Malawians.
“We have a liberalised economy yes but these are hard times. The government needs to come up with a policy that should save an ordinary Malawian from death.
“Government can say a bag of maize be sold at K6, 000 then we will save more lives. We need to save people’s lives,” he said.
In addition, Banda echoed calls to have Malawi Defense Force soldiers deployed at Admarc depots to bring sanity in the state run grain company whose members of staff are blamed for massive corruption that has led to persistent shortage of maize.
The government is yet to comment on the suggestion.
Media reports say some people have now resorted to buying maize husks (madeya) usually reserved for animals as food shortages hits hard especially in the central and northern regions.