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Opposition Chants: “We Need Maize! We Need Maize!”

Malawi’s opposition Members of Parliament-MPs Friday morning exploded into a united voice Friday morning; demanding availability of the country’s staple food, maize; and almost broke their vocal cords chanting:”We need maize! We need maize!”

They were not satisfied with Agriculture Minister, Sam Kawale’s report in the August House that government is currently conducting an assessment on the maize distribution exercise across the country.

This comes as the latest Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee-MVAC report shows an estimated 4.4 million people are likely to face hunger in the country.

The figure represents 22 percent of Malawi’s projected population of 19.6 million.

To mitigate the situation, 219 023 metric tonnes of maize with an estimated cash value of K167.55 billion will be needed.

But Kawale told Parliament that government is keeping over 65, 000 metric tons-MT; over 52, 000 MT are with National Food Reserve Agency-NFRA while over 15,000 MT are in stock of ADMARC.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Sameer Suleman alleged that other individuals connected to those in power have been getting maize from government institutions.

However, Speaker Catherine Gotani Hara directed Suleman to either bring evidence to substantiate his claim or withdraw it altogether.

Suleiman vowed never to withdraw his claim when the legislators were breaking for a health break.

A local governance institution, Center for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives-CDEDI is mobilizing citizens to camp at the Parliament Building in the capital city to force the lawmakers to swiftly table and pass an emergency Maize Bill to address the prevailing dire maize situation.

A 50 kilogram bag of maize is currently fetching around K35 000 or K40 000 in some parts of the country; raising fears the price might get out control when December comes if authorities fail to intervene.

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