By: Geoffrey Banda Jnr
Gender advocates in Malawi have asked government to consider women and children rights in food access as many people mostly women are reportedly spending day and night at Agriculture Development Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) deports to buy maize.
NGO Gender coordination Network (NGO GCN) made the call in Lilongwe during a panel discussion on Gender and Food Security: Women’s access to food focusing on Access to farm inputs and maize in ADMARC deports.
Speaking during the discussion, chairperson for NGO GCN, Emma Kaliya expressed concern with reports that some vendors are abusing women by hiring to buy maize at ADMARC at a recommended prices and then sell at high prices to vulnerable people.
Kaliya further explained that women were also required to fend for their families, a development which hinders them to exercise their rights.
“I have travelled around meeting communities in districts like Balaka and found that women are mostly victims in accessing maize from ADMARC. We have noted with regrets that poor people are not benefiting from FISP but rich people a thing which is worrisome,” Kaliya said.
In a another development the panel discussion abserved that people with disabilities and the elderly are also not sidelined from the government’s Farm Inputs Subsidy Programme (FISP) because of misconception that that they have no farming capabilities.
In responding to the concern, ADMARC Manager for Region Central Region, Joel Masamba put blames on chiefs for poor selection of FISP beneficiaries.
He, however said from 2015-2016 farming season the would change the system of choosing beneficiaries and process as it will be done by government agricultural officials.
“We have changed the style of selecting FISP beneficiaries starting from this year’s farming season and 1.5 million different poor farmers are to benefit each year to ensure that everyone benefits from the programme,” he said.