As hunger threatens millions of Malawians, government has said that it has no option but to go for rationing of staple food maize .
It is said that almost 2 million people in the country are food insecure in at least 21 districts across the country and are likely to need food hand outs from government.
New directives are that maize should be sold not more than 10 kilogrammes per individual as a way of dealing with the problem.
Government buys and sells maize through the Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).
Minister of Agriculture James Munthali explained that the rationing is not only to ensure that everyone has the scarce grain but also to check on greedy traders who would want to buy the maize in bulk and hoard it to sell at much higher prices later.
Speaking during the launch of this year’s national farm input subsidy programme (Fisp) beneficiary identification and registration Munthali said government has already ordered Admarc to open some of its markets especially most affected areas to give people who can afford a chance to access the maize.
“We have just instructed Admarc to open up its markets especially in the hot spot districts. However, they will be selling in a rationed manner of at least 10 kilogrammes so that all those who do not have the food can buy,” Munthali said.
The Minister acknowledged that the maize at both Admarc and the National Food Reserve Agency was not enough to meet the current food requirement for commercial as well as the humatarian assistance.
He said government was mainly relying on donors to assist it cover the gap.
“We will also need to import some more maize. We want to make sure that all Admarc markets have the food,” said Munthali.
Most parts of Malawi usually start having maize shortages between December and March of each year when most households have exhausted their previous harvest and wait for the next.
Meanwhile, demand is fast outstripping supply with more and more people running out of their staple diet.