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Malawi: Trade liberalisation has increased poverty levels, claims report
Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) Translate This Article
30 September 2005
On 30 September 2005 Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) reported:
A new report by the Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) analysed the impact of various trade liberalization policies on producers of the country's major crops (tobacco, maize, and cotton) and found that small acreage farmers have been adversely affected. This is undermining the food security of the poor, the report warned.
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The report disclosed that with the new policies farmers no longer had an established market paying set prices for their crops. Previously, agricultural products were sold to 'ADMARC' a state organization which paid a set price for crops. The restructuring of ADMARC created a vacuum.
The MEJN acting executive director, Mabvuto Bamusi, told IRIN that 'if trade is left to private market agents, prices will be higher or more volatile, and there might be complete lack of maize in most parts of the country'.
The article pointed out that serious food shortages are being experienced in the country as a result of 'recurring drought compounded by HIV/AIDS and weakened governance capacity, which have caused cereal prices to rise sharply, leaving the poor unable to afford food'.
Over 80 per cent of the population are involved in agriculture. Out of the 12 million population, 65 per cent live on less than one US dollar a day.
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