Lilongwe, March 10: Finally the Mutharika government has admitted to food shortages in the country after being coy with Media and Civil society. According to reporting from Government controlled Media, the Minister of Agriculture, irrigation and Water Development has asked Malawians to avoid blaming the government on every misfortune that the country faces because some of them are beyond the government’s control.
The Minister was referring to the hunger which has hit some parts of the country because of the scarcity of maize due to poor rains which fell last year and the floods which hit some districts of the country.
Dr Chiyembekeza was speaking during a Japanese Tobacco International’s (JTI) drought relief program, donation of assorted food items (Maize, Beans, cooking oil) in Kachete village, group village headman Liwinga, Traditional Authority Kalolo in Lilongwe district.
He said the government is doing everything in its power to make sure the country has enough food and this means buying maize from other neighboring countries.
Chiyembekeza faulted Malawians for not selling their maize to ADMARC after harvesting in the 2014/2015 season because they were selling their maize to private companies which have resulted in ADMARC not having enough maize to resale to Malawians.
“These private companies when they sale maize to the government they are selling it at an expensive price for example buying maize from farmers at K70 per Kilogram and they want to sale to the government at K270 per Kilogram which is expensive,” he said.
He called upon all well-wishers to help the government in alleviating hunger by donating maize to either the government or individual households.
JTI Managing Director, Fries Vanneste, said the relief program will cost JTI approximately US$300,000 which is approximately MK225 million. Over three months we will ensure that contracted growers and their communities have the support they need during this difficult time.
“We will provide food relief to 17,000 people across the country, we have seen the severity of the situation and know that almost 3,500 households in the communities where we buy our tobacco, across the country are facing food shortages as a result of this year’s widespread drought,” Vanneste said.