Government Suspends Duty On Maize Flour Imports From SA
The government of Malawi has suspended duty on maize flour imported from South Africa as a measure to counter the raging maize crisis in the country at the moment.
Malawi, according to the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee-MVAC-has over a million and eight hundred thousand citizens who need humanitarian help.
And access to the country’s staple food-maize, is a rising nightmare for the citizens.
Trade, Industry and Tourism minister, Salim Bagus, is convinced that letting in maize flour from South Africa without MRA demanding duty would reduce impact of the problem.
“This is one way of ensuring that Malawians are accessing (maize) flour easily and at a cheap price considering the hunger situation,” Bagus told Zodiak Online.
The problem of maize absence is more pronounced in remote parts of the country where, we have evidence, some people are surviving on husks and wild roots.
“I am in Standard 2. At home we are eating maize husks because we can’t get flour. We ask that government should come to our rescue,” One primary school learner at a school in Dedza North told us.
The absence of food in most villages has resulted in a spectrum of challenges including so many children not turning up for classes,” observed the learner.
“The only food we are eating is wild roots. Government should intensify the school feeding program and distribute food in our homes,” another leaner told Zodiak Online.
Ireen Stanistaki is one of those on ART and has been affected by the problem.
“I am worried. My life is in danger. I am on ART but it’s difficult to find food. I cannot even find piece work as a source of income to buy food. Currently we are depending much on wild roots,” Stanistaki said.
Dedza is one of the many district where maize shortage has hit most homes.
But Trade, Industry and Tourism Bagus says suspension on maize flour duty ends in March this year.
Admarc markets are expected to start selling 25 kilograms of flour to ease the current pressure for maize for food.
Experts say Malawi is headed for yet another year of poor maize harvest owing to the on-going attacks on maize fields by fall army worms, the fact that a lot of small-scale farmers are now spending their time hunting for food instead of their fields and the harsh weather pattern and rains which, already has washed crop downstream.