AFRICA/MALAWI - Food disaster, but "the real crisis will be in June" says a missionary

Friday, 15 April 2016 hunger  

Lilongwe (Agenzia Fides) - "The month of June will lead to an unprecedented food crisis" foresees Fr. Piergiorgio Gamba, Monfort missionary, who sent a note to Agenzia Fides on the dramatic food situation in Malawi.
"Barns have been empty for some time, but it took months for the government to find a response to this situation and only on April 12, the President declared a state of disaster for the whole country" refers Fr. Gamba. "It seemed an unacceptable step, an acceptance of being defeated, a surrender to the opposition that in Parliament challenged the government to act".
Fr. Gamba stresses that "Malawi with its 17 million inhabitants, consumes 3 million tons of grain annually. The repeated call for diversifying agricultural production based only on corn, was not taken into consideration. Now the heavy lesson of this crisis is teaching to sow everything that is edible and is able to survive in the barren land, as Africans used to do before the onset of corn: sweet potatoes, soybeans...". "Now there is hunger: children do not go to school, the line of people asking for something to eat is something that happens on a daily basis ... and this is only the beginning. The month of June will lead to an unprecedented food crisis".
Some signs of the seriousness of the situation are impressive: the Ministry of the Interior, that is also in charge of prisons and its 15,000 prisoners, is no longer able to provide even a meal a day of polenta and beans, and perhaps this is also why the President has granted pardon to more than 1,500 prisoners in a year who had already served half of the sentence; hospitals that offered patients meals can now barely give one; farmers who had the good fortune of a small crop end up selling it for very little money just to have some money for school fees for their children or medicines that hospitals no longer give or even a dress bought at a second hand market.
"While it is hoped that the international community can intervene with a massive importation of food, what can the mission do? We are trying to do everything possible to keep as many projects as possible active that give some form of income so that the people manage to survive until next year", concludes the missionary. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 15/04/2016)