President Lazarus Chakwera has ordered Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale to ensure that all Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) depots in the country have enough maize stocks to help hunger-stricken families.
The President has also condemned red-tape and bureaucracy in public service delivery, lamenting that such a vice is breeding corruption, especially now when many households are affected due to floods and dry spells.
He made the remarks at Kiwe and Mwenilondo primary school grounds in Karonga yesterday after inspecting crop fields at Sunifolo and Mwangolera villages, where dry spells affected rice and maize fields, rendering people helpless.
Chakwera noted that apart from rice, there was little or no hope for maize, tobacco and groundnuts, a situation traditional leaders said was being exacerbated by unavailability of maize in Admarc depots.
“I have heard chiefs complain about unavailability of maize in Admarc depots. It is not right to waste too much time on committee meetings. There is no need to wait when maize is available. I want you Minister of Agriculture [Sam Kawale] to ensure constant supply of maize and other food supplies in all Admarc depots,” he said.
At Mwenilondo, Chakwera also warned against taking advantage of the situation for self-enrichment, urging all government officials to work with the district council so that there is smooth implementation of relief and recovery efforts.
In reference to distribution of relief items to survivors of Cyclone Freddy, the President said some misguided and unscrupulous individuals are taking advantage of the exercise to enrich themselves.
“Let us get rid of corruption. Instead, let us implant the spirit of love and care of one another. Stop using my name as President Chakwera or that of Malawi Congress Party for personal gain and advantage,” he warned.
Earlier at Kiwe, Senior Chief Kilipula complained that Admarc depots are not working as expected, to the detriment of hunger-stricken families.
At Mwenilondo, which was Chakwera’s second stop, Paramount Chief Kyungu urged the need to start harvesting water for irrigation purposes.
“Without irrigation, we cannot talk about ending food insecurity. We need to be harvesting water that is why I am happy to hear that the Japanese Government would want to help us with rehabilitation of Lufirya scheme, but also a dam, that is what we want,” he said.
Kawale said the year 2023 has been a tough one, with situations in Kasungu, Cyclone Freddy in the Southern Region affecting 14 districts and then the dry spell in Karonga, indicating that climate change was hitting hard and needed serious mitigation remedies. According to a report from the Ministry of Agriculture, the dry spell in Karonga has hit 8 742 hectares (ha), resulting in loss of 16 040 metric tonnes (MT) of maize while production loss of rice is estimated at 33 059MT.