As millions are expected to be affected by severe hunger in Malawi this year, this publication has established that some residents in parts of Mzuzu have already began depending on ‘madeya’ (maize husks) as a replacement for maize flour.
A visit to several maize mills across the city on Thursday, found people scrambling for the product which in most cases was going at not less than MK300 per tin.
According to some residents who spoke to this paper, Madeya is much cheaper than buying the actual maize that most vendors sell at a minimum price of MK2800 per 20 kilogram which is almost double the price for the same at ADMARC.
“ADMARC is unreliable these days, they sell maize to vendors and each time we go there, they keep telling us they have no maize thus to buy from vendors requires more money. We find our relief in Madeya,” said Martha Gunde.
Most women echoed the same saying poor people have no choice. They have to eat what is available provided their berries are full before going to bed.
In Mzuzu, even those people who have the privilege of having maize do not leave madeya at the maize mill anymore because they have realized that with the impending hunger they have to make use of the product.
“After we mill our maize, we demand for our Madeya these days because we realize it has importance later. Nobody leaves the product here it has become important with the hunger affecting people in the country,” said Eunice Mhango, a Mzuzu resident.
Millers also expressed dissatisfaction at how hunger has affected their work. Humph Chikoza who mills at Chimwemwe maize mills in the city told our reporter that business is unusual this time.
“With the hike in price for milling and the hunger, our business is at threat. We close the day with sometimes MK 2000 only but we have to buy credit from Escom which nowadays is also exorbitant. It’s not working as usual,” said Chikoza.
Records show that a related experience was last faced during Bakili Muluzi’s reign between 2001 and 2002 when people survived on banana roots and Madeya though that time it also became scarce.
Meanwhile people are still banking on government’s promise that it will work round the clock to make sure nobody dies of hunger in the country.
Government has also assured Malawians that it will deal with anybody involved in selling ADMARC products to vendors while the country is on a threat of hunger.