Hunger looms in Malawi’s central districts: 3 collapse in Mzuzu maize scrumble

As Malawians continue to scramble for maize which is the staple food, government has conceded that there is acute shortage of the staple grain in most parts of the country, mostly in central districts of Salima and Nkhotakota.

Speaking in an interview Tuesday, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Ulemu Chilapondwa said there is increased demand from the consumers due to shortages of maize as most Admarc depots do not have maize to meet the demand on the market.

Chilapondwa, however, said Malawians should not panic as government has already lifted about 500 tons of maize from its strategic maize silos for distribution to some state grain marketor, Admarc selling points.

“Government is aware of the situation. There is acute shortage of maize particularly in Salima and Nkhotakota and other parts as a result of poor harvest last growing season.

Maize vendors raising prices of the grain following shortage
Maize vendors raising prices of the grain following shortage

“ But I can assure Malawians government has already dispatched about 500 metric tons of maize to admarc depots. More maize will be dispatched until the situation stabilizes,” said Chilapondwa.

Srumble for maize

Meanwhile, three people collapsed at Mzuzu Admarc depot on Monday as hundreds scrambled for the staple grain, according to published reports.

Admarc is currently rationing maize, selling 10 kgs instead of the normal 50 kg per person, and consumers argues that allocation is not enough to feed their families.

Admarc spokesperson Agnes Ndovi attributed to the shortages to the fact that November through March is normally the lean period when most household foodstuffs are depleted pending the next harvest season.

Traders have taken advantage of the situation to cash in more as hopeless consumers are being forced a 50kg bag of maize at K10,000.

Maize in most townships including Zingwangwa and Ndirande is being sold at K160 and K200 per kg respectively.

Recently, President Joyce Banda observed that the high prices are being caused by people who are greedy and selfish as they buy the maize from Admarc depots at K3000 and sell it at a K120 percent profit.

The apparent maize shortage comes against a background of “enough maize stocks to meet the country’s needs up to the next harvest season [in March and April]” as reported by the country’s donors who inspected the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) early this month.

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