Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika on Wednesday admitted there is looming hunger due to a poor crop outlook in some parts of the country.
He has since warned chiefs and businesspeople against monopolising maize markets by depriving ordinary citizens of the commodity.
Mutharika was speaking in old MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s capital, Zomba, when he launched the National Forestry Season at Muluwira Village, Traditional Authority Mwambo.
He said some businesspeople have the tendency of buying maize in bulk from an area already affected by poor harvest or late rains against a family striving to feed itself.
Said Mutharika: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ndimaona mmene ndimabwera kuti chimanga china chauma kusonyeza kuti zinthu zavutadi. [I saw as I was coming here that maize has dried up in some parts of the country, a sign that things are not well]. I will advise the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to make available maize seed and fertiliser quickly within this week to those affected so they can replant.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There is enough food, but let us exercise care. Admarc and the Ministry [of Agriculture] should make sure maize is available in affected areas. It is everyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s responsibility to assist rather than depending on government aloneÃ¢â‚¬Â.
The President threatened to take unspecified action against chiefs and businesspeople selling fertiliser and maize at prices not approved by government.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have information and names of chiefs from Zomba who are involved in unscrupulous tendencies. I have the power to remove any one of you and I should not be blamed for being cruel when I do that. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get used to corruption in the hope of getting away with it,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
On the tree planting exercise, Mutharika said trees are vital in mitigating climate change, which he said has been grossly affected by wanton cutting down of forests.
Launched under the theme: Ã¢â‚¬ËœConserve Trees and Forest, Mitigate Climate ChangeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, Mutharika urged every Malawian to plant three trees for every one cut down to help retain forests that are beneficial in ways such as the provision of foods, timber and bee farming, among others.
He threatened to deal with anyone who stands in the developmental path of government, including tree planting. On the other hand, Mutharika said he is ready to work with the opposition in building the nation.
Earlier, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment Vera Faramenga Chelewani said the forestry season runs from December 15 to April 15.