Following a disruption in water cycle which delayed the rains during the current and previous rainy seasons, Malawians should prepare themselves for hard times as prices of maize have gone alarmingly high.
The World Food Programme made Malawi one of its areas of concerns in Africa, saying the El Niño weather pattern which has affected the country has largely contributed to failure of the crop to grow normally.
Prices of the country’s staple food have tripled with consumers queuing for small quantities of maize at Admarc depots. Malawians are also paying high prices for a 50kg bag of maize.
Malawi24 has learnt that a 50kg bag of maize is being sold at K10,000 in some areas but there are fears that the price may increase. Others have predicted that the price of a 50kg bag will soon be as high as K20,000 considering that it will take time for people to harvest.
Minister of Agriculture Dr Allan Chiyembekeza last week advised Malawians to reduce the quantity of food they eat per meal if they are to sustain the little maize they have. He admitted that things are hard in as far as food security is concerned.
In most areas of the country, the crop is slightly above its initial stages and will increase the period between planting and harvesting. The rural masses are the worst affected with high costs of maize since they can hardly afford a tin.
Other countries in the region have not been spared the food scarcity since the El Niño weather pattern has affected a greater part of southern Africa. The point of distinction between other countries and Malawi is that in other countries prices are fair.
However, the government has come under fire for doing little in preparing for tough times that lie ahead. Lilongwe learned earlier about the weather pattern which provided it with ample time to prepare for the worst experience. Malawians therefore should pray for divine intervention as they cross the bridge.