BY DRAXON MALOYA
Food shortage and a possible hunger crisis are said to have started creating panic among many Malawians.
A visit to the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) silos at Kanengo in Lilongwe by the Parliamentary Budget Committee on Wednesday(22nd January 2020) established that the country is indeed having food deficit.
Malawi grain reserves are currently having 14 thousand metric tonnes of maize which is not enough to address the country’s hunger situation.
The committee has also established NFRA has already blown out the K10 billion kwacha the government said would provide for the 2019/20 maize purchase during the last year’s budget.
Last year’s food estimates records released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) shows that the country was expected to have food surplus but only to be hit hard by floods and fall army worms.
At the moment government is failing to buy maize from the agro dealers as it reported to have not enough money to purchase the grain, hence giving an opportunity to some scrupulous vendors to cash in on the situation and abuse the maize market with exorbitant prices.
On a related development.
Last week,our reporter revealed that MD Matias Bonongwe of Agri-Zone International[AZIT] is being sidelined by the relavant authorities to supply maize to the govt,through it’s subsidiaries such as Admarc,Nfra and Dodma.
This week,our reporter followed up on the issue and has gathered more shocking details from an inside source that: “Mr Bonongwe overrated himself with his challenge of supplying enough maize to feed the whole nation within 21 days,in which he demanded to be paid deposit[billions] in advance for logistics.The procurement department according to their policy,they are not mandated to give part payment in fear of being duped or delay other payments for readibly available maize suppliers”.
The source went further to elaborate “Azit was given the order to deliver maize to admarc depots on 16th January 2020 e.g Balaka,Luncheza,Sedi and Charteland.Sadly and strangely not even one grain has been delivered at these depots,when we enquired from him,why the delay?.He has been giving excuses; Our trucks are coming now,we are loading maize from our warehouses and others are coming from Mozambique etc,that has been the song he has been singing for the past week”.
Our reporter,has come across a public announcement from AZIT shared on all social networks that,they’re looking for agro-dealers to supply them with Maize at K200 per kg and they will flip the price at Admarc for K250 per kg.
This is sad and unbelievable,the dire need of maize supply the country is in,to imagine a Malawian of Malawi origin is manipulating trade for his own self aggrandizement.That is disheartening.
The reporter spoke to a Lecturer at Luanar University,who asked to be anonymous; he shared his thoughts” The govt may consider buying maize as early as April than in September to avoid these perilous food deficits and sadly am told govt wanted to buy maize flour for distribution in regions highly affected by hunger but local maize flour manufacturers have deny them,well am urging the relavant authorities to consider buying maize flour from South Africa or Kenya and we need to move fast before we start to register deaths due to starvation“.