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Near Harvest Season -Do Not Sell Maize in Desperation

The nation is aware of irregularities that go around maize every harvest season. Ranging from farmers themselves to traders. We may not afford to let it go since the whole issue signifies the high position of maize, the main food for Malawi. While some parts of the country experienced erratic rainfall we cannot miss saying Alhamdulillah (praise be to God Almighty) for most parts the outlook of maize gardens looks promising.

We are fast moving to harvest season. This is the time for relevant authorities and stakeholders ensuring that that the maize is safeguarded, harvested, treated, and stored without ill trader’s manipulation. Instituting measures to safeguard the dominant food crop, maize, in the just impending harvest is an aspect of food security. Most ignored is the trader’s ill involvement, following closely on the dominant food crop, right in the gardens before it is harvested.

Though it is not a crime to trade on maize, as in other crops, but to say the least most traders ignore, the humanitarian aspect. For instance, traders who hoard maize after buying from local farmers do intercept the goals of food security. Advisably, the authorities should always be ready to buy maize from the local farmers, at the most desirable prices to ensure adequate stocks. It remains the government’s responsibility to civic educate the local farmers, pleading with them not to sell the precious commodity in desperation.

Islam calls for sanity in trade. It is not desired though for traders to hoard commodities to sell them at exorbitant prices when consumers are in dire need. However, it is allowed to keep commodities when they are in abundance to make them available when they are scarce.

When our understanding is set forth including that of vulnerability assessment, Malawi cannot forget the beautiful teaching of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) saying, “What an evil person who withhold! If God Almighty causes the prices to drop, he would be saddened, and if He causes them to climb, he would be excited.”  We call upon traders to observe sanity in trade, not to hoard and be at peace when prices are stable.

We should always be protective of our staple food crop, crossing borders illegally by opportunistic traders. Food security is required beyond having bumper harvest seasons. Harvest seasons might sometimes give us required quantities but utilization is the deciding factor to remain sustainable.

Largely we need to redouble our efforts in investing in agriculture and in enhancing the most dependent food crop, alongside other crops. We cannot ignore the importance of multi-cropping, and intercropping as cover crops.