Over 1 million Malawians are dying of hunger in Malawi as I write.
Well, that is not bad news.
It is not bad news because the concerted effort, of government and other humanitarian organisations, is already on the offensive with cash transfers and relief food items distribution to stop them from dying.
But there is bad news.
If government—through the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Impact (MVAC)—tells us that about 1 million people will go hungry this year, there assessment ONLY covers the very poorest, the vulnerable, of that specific period.
It doesn’t cover those that are poor but, at that specific period of assessment, had some money to feed themselves through buying maize at an affordable price at Admarc depots.
Let me repeat: It means those that banked their hope of being food secure by buying from Admarc will now, after Admarc’s incapacitation, find themselves join the vulnerable group—desperate for cash transfers and relief food distribution.
What Prophet Bushiri is saying is that let’s not graduate more poor Malawians to join the group of the vulnerable—those who cannot survive without handouts.
This, Prophet Bushiri said, is possible if, as a nation, we control the raging appetite of people who takes advantage of local poor farmers by buying their maize at a lower price, hoards them and, during the lean season, sell back to the same farmers at an exorbitant price.
Government, of course, has already set a tone in putting measures to control these appetites. Ministry of Agriculture last Friday adjusted the price of buying maize at it depots to K250 and K230 per/kg in urban and rural markets respectively to entice farmers and traders.
But they are hardly coming because, we have read from reports, private traders want to sell their maize to Admarc at not less than K300 per/kg. If this happens, it means we will be graduation more poor people into the van of vulnerable group.
This, in all intents and purposes, is STARVATION BY CHOICE. Whose choice? The private traders are choosing to starve even more people in Malawi for sake of profit.
That is why Prophet Bushiri, driven by the burden of protecting poor Malawians, has said:
“I am informed that Government has called on Traders and Farmers who have maize, to sell to ADMARC at MK230-250 per kilogram with a specific deadline.
“I will continue to directly help Malawians with free maize distribution under Shepherd Bushiri Foundation. However, should the traders fail to supply by the deadline, I am offering to source maize for the Government at the suggested prices.”
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