Acute shortage of food across the country is projected to continue through June despite harvests which farming families have started making from their gardens.
According to the latest Usaid-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) report for March 2013, cash crop harvests from May are expected to help ease the hunger situation in some of the affected parts of the country.
“With food needs being met through consumption of own produced crops and livelihoods protection needs being met through the sale of cash crops, acute food insecurity is expected in the South and throughout the rest of the country from April to June.
“Sale of cash crops from May is expected to generate enough household income so that livelihood protection needs are met,” reads the report in part.
Government estimates that about two million people are facing hunger in at least 16 districts, especially in the Southern Region. The food shortage saw maize prices skyrocketing to around K10 000 (about $25) per 50 kilogramme bag in some parts of the country.
“In March, maize grain was still available in local markets across the country but was selling at very high prices. According to the Agriculture Market Information System (AMIS), the national average retail price for February was 211 percent higher than the average in February 2012,” reads the report.
The report, however, says the country faces positive prospects of maize harvests in some parts of the country.
“During a recent Fewsnet assessment, good looking maize crops were observed and there are prospects of a better crop in Southern Malawi in the 2012/13 season if rainfall continues until the end of the season in April,” reads the report.
Vice-President Khumbo Kachali recently visited National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) silos at Kanengo in Lilongwe and Mzuzu where he ordered the agency to improve on the release of maize stocks to Admarc selling points across the country.
In some districts like Lilongwe, some people have been sleeping at Admarc depots in search for maize. Government has since bought maize from Zambia to feel gaps in the country’s maize stocks as some of the maize at NFRA silos is reportedly rotten.
President Joyce Banda on Monday said government will find out circumstances that have led to rotting of the maize in the silos.
Nsanje, Chikhwawa, Thyolo, Phalombe, Neno and Mwanza are some of the districts that are facing acute food shortages.