People of Mwanza and Chikwawa have hailed increased food coverage as well as improved informal trade which has enhanced local supplies of maize, the country’s staple grain.
The view of the people of the two districts coincide with the Famine Early Warning System Network (FewsNet) January 2017 report which observes that as the country enters the peak of the lean season, maize supplies have remarkably improved as a result of lower consumer demand due to increased humanitarian assistance coverage and informal flows of maize.
“Food assistance and other interventions initiated by government have this year helped stabilise the situation. We have not felt the pinch compared to last year during the same period,” said Esmie Thanthwe of Nikisi Village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Kanduku in Mwanza.
On his part, Robert Namakhwa of T/A Chikumbu said the distribution of food stuffs such as rice, beans and pulses has made a difference in people’s lives.
“The intervention has been timely and this has stabilised the situation which could have been worse,” he said.
An assessment by FewsNet in January found that most local markets and depots for State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) have adequate maize stocks that are expected to last up to the next harvest in April.
However, people are not buying maize from Admarc compared to last year because of the price, which is at K12 500 per 50 kilogramme (kg) bag or K250 per kg.
Current price data shows that prices have not risen as sharply as projected due to the ongoing humanitarian assistance and informal maize supplies, according to FewsNet.