Malawi hit by maize shortage – Pres Banda, Minister

Malawi President Joyce Banda and Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Professor Peter Mwanza have said there is insufficient maize in the country, a situation that is making life hard for people both in the rural and urban areas.

President Banda told reporters at Sanjika Palace on Saturday that the country has no enough maize.

“Let me put it on record that there is hunger in Malawi. I’m the President and I know what I’m talking about,” said President Banda.

“The only problem is that some selfish individuals are busy buying the maize from Admarc depots and later sell it at higher price, to me these are the people who have aggravated the spiraling maize prices,” explained Banda.

The President also refused to take any blame for the soaring prices of maize in the country saying it is some unscrupulous traders who are taking advantage of the situation to reap off poor Malawians.

Mwanza  also said the state grain marketer, ADMARC; do not have enough staple food maize, which people grind to prepare their meals.

“Government has decided to draw down maize from strategic grain reserves to help support the vulnerable families,” Mwanza is quoted by the official Malawi News Agency as saying.

However, in January the Minister Mwanza was quoted on Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) saying Malawi had adequate maize stocks to take the country to the next harvest season.

Mwanza: Most ADMARC depots have no maize
Mwanza: Most ADMARC depots have no maize

He indicated that the government has already started sending some maize bags to ADMARC depots.

“Our aim is to ensure that consumers will acquire the maize for their families and feed them up the next harvest season,” explained Mwanza.

He however condemned traders who he said go to buy maize at ADMARC and subsequently export it.

“We rely on maize that is grown in the country so for people to sell maize outside the country while others are suffering is bad. That is why government banned exporting maize grain,” said Mwanza.

Mwanza said the prevailing maize situation in country, ADMARC officials allow consumers to get maize in small quantities to ensure that many households are able to buy some of it.

Government has released 47,000 metric tonnes of maize from strategic grain reserves to help reduce the cases of maize shortage, at the value of $11.6 million which is about MK4.18 billion.

Presiden Banda during her relief food distribution programme to needy households repeatedly said about two million Malawians are facing hunger.

Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) projected that 1.9 million Malawians were facing hunger.

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