"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Should Malawi sell its maize surplus to neighbours experiencing food shortages or should we just donate it

THE Malawian government has responded to the
current food shortage and hunger situation in the country by donating
over 5 000 metric tonnes of maize.
consignment was officially handed over to government yesterday by the
Malawian high commissioner to Swaziland, Dr. Martin Kansichi and
received on behalf of government by the Minister of Regional
Development and Youth Affairs Chief Sipho Shongwe at the National Maize
Corporation yesterday.

Speaking during the occasion, Dr. Kansichi
said upon hearing about the acute food shortage in some countries in
Southern Africa including Swaziland, Malawi was seriously touched
especially because that country had experienced similar problems for a
long time as well. He said Malawi had ever been assisted by development
partners as well as countries from within the SADC region whenever
there were food shortage problems, hence the decision to reciprocate
the favour. “Our President therefore saw it wise to assist our brothers
and sisters as a sign of good neighbourliness and good will. We belong
to SADC as a regional bloc and it will not be good for Malawi to sit
down and watch when neighbours are suffering. It is our strong belief
that as members of SADC, we should be able to assist one another in
times of problems like food shortages first before asking those outside
our region to help,” said Dr. Kansichi.

Meanwhile, the high
commissioner said the food shortage problem slows down development
because resources are quite often diverted to programmes aimed at
mitigating the food deficit.

“If you are importing food the
country loses the scarce foreign currency. You definitely can not avoid
spending more than what has been budgeted for because every citizen has
the right to food and needs social protection from government.

his remarks upon receiving the donation, Minister Chief Sipho Shongwe
registered his concern with the fact that the prevalent hunger
situation was seemingly here to stay in the country. He said there are
clear indications that there shortfall of maize and food may continue
if the dry spells and erratic rainfalls are anything to go by. He also
lamented the recent storm winds and veld fires which devastated a
number of homesteads.

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