Malawi President Peter Mutharika on Wednesday failed to clear the mist over the availability of maize in the country following reports that the country’s sole grain marketer, Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) is running short of supply.
Mutharika, in a statement to the nation, admitted to have received reports on the scarcity of maize in Admarc depots, and was quick to accept that some people in the country are currently starving due to the situation.
The statement comes days after Thyolo-based Social and Economic Justice Association (SEJA) wrote Mutharika to show his powers by setting a maximum price of selling maize and maize flour on the local market.
Vendors are selling the grain at exorbitant price with a 50kg bag going at a minimum of K15, 000 in some markets. Admarc sells 50kg bag at K5, 500.
However, on Wednesday Mutharika despite expressing his sadness on the maize scarcity situation, failed to clear the mist on the availability of the grain in the national silos and what the authorities were doing to improve the situation in Admarc depots to ensure people are able to access the much needed maize.
“My repeated assurances to you that no one shall die of hunger. Based on the assessed requirements of maize and the quantities of maize that we bought, there should have been enough maize in Admarc depots to cater for everyone’s needs,” explained Mutharika in the statement.
The President whose government is facing economic turmoil, said, based on information from his officials, there is enough maize in the country.
He did not however disclose as to how much maize the country’s silos currently have and how much his government will procure, but disclosed that he was informed of the critical shortage of maize at many Admarc depots.
Mutharika then admitted that some people in the country were currently starving due to the maize situation the country is experiencing, adding that based on assessment his government did last year, there should have been enough maize in Admarc depots by now to meet the demand.
He then warned his government will take action against officials conniving and selling the grain to vendors in bulk thereby creating shortage.
“Admarc, meanwhile, will continue to replenish the maize stocks. In addition, we have additional money to buy more maize if needed,” added Mutharika.
An assessment by government last year indicated that about 2.8 million will experience food shortage and need assistance.
Currently, the food shortage situation is worsening in the country and people are spending nights at Admarc depots just to access the grain which are only allowed to buy a minimum of 20kgs per individual.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :