The country’s rights group, Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has expressed sadness over new prices for maize at MK600 per kilogram describing is as immoral for President Lazarus Chakwera’s Tonse Alliance government to priotise the grain profits amid starvation.
CDEDI has therefore challenged Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale to justify the MK600 per kilogramme price of maize it has allowed the Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) to sell its maize amid life-threatening starvation.
In a press statement released on Thursday, August 24, 2023 signed by CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa observes that for ADMARC to sell maize at MK30,000 per 50-Kilongramme bag when the minimum wage in the country is MK50,000, confirms fears that there is no hope of survival for the poor majority in both urban and rural areas.
“Not to say about the ultra-poor whose assumed free access to the staple food will depend on their political correctness. Malawians may wish to recall that by the time former Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe closed ADMARC maize was selling at MK15,000 per 50-kilogramme bag.
“The newly announced price translates to a 100 percent hike, and the question is: What is government thinking about the millions of Malawians who are threatened by starvation?”, queries Namiwa.
He added, ” CDEDI also wishes to put it on record that it is wrong to suggest that ADMARC’s new maize price has been informed by government’s last announce farm-gate price, because that price lacked justification as it did not take into consideration agonies of monthly minimum wage earners, who besides providing for their families, also, have responsibility over relations threatened with starvation in both urban and rural areas.
“Lets, think about the millions of orphans such wage earners have to feed and clothe the needy. We remind Kawale that 91 percent of the employable population is jobless, therefore, it is morally expected that the staple food should be pegged at prices the poor majority can afford”.
Namiwa explains further, “Government, in particular, Kawale, needs to be reminded that survivors of the devastating Cyclone Freddy, those affected by the drought in Karonga, and the ultra-poor deserve protection from starvation.
“For the noble cause of those in need of food to avoid starvation, CDEDI won’t relent in pushing for affordable maize prices, and free food distribution to the ultra-poor regardless of their political colours”.
ADMARC Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Makata also set a buying limit of 25 kilograms of maize per individual in its depots that are expected to be opened tomorrow
Makata justified the move to restrict vendors from monopolizing the market.