Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet) has accused government of not being honest on the hunger situation in the country, dismissing Lilongwe’s assertions that Malawi has 60,000 metric tonnes of maize in her grain reserves.
The truth, according to Cisanet’s National Coordinator, Tamani Nkhono-Mvula is that there is only 2000 metric tonnes of maize in the country’s reserves.
Nkhono-Mvula said this during his presentation titled ‘Importance of agriculture to development’, at the two day Public Affairs Committee’s (PAC) 5th All Inclusive Stakeholders Conference taking place in Blantyre.
He said due to the scarcity of the staple grain, the prices of maize have risen up by almost 100 percent, the highest the country has recorded in five years.
He argued that the rise will continue until April when people harvest, but said they will begin to rise again from July.
“It’s a pity that government is telling us that it has 60 000 metric tonnes of maize in grain reserves but an inside source has informed me that there is only 2000 metric tonnes.
“This is serious considering that we have close to 3 million people in need of the staple food. We are in a crisis,” he said.
He said the country needs a long term vision for the agriculture sector. Nkhono-Mvula suggested continued use of fertilisers due to soil degradation and formulation of long term disaster risk packages other than spending billions on the Farm Input subsidy Programme (Fisp).
He argued that Fisp has failed to deliver in the presence of a number of various environmental challenges.
In response, Finance and Economic Planning Minister Goodall Gondwe said government is importing maize from Zambia and other countries to ensure that the citizenry have enough food.
The theme for PAC conference is Defining solutions to economic and political direction of Malawi. Delegates are expected to come up with resolutions at the end of the conference today.