Maize is the staple diet of most Malawians. Though it is food, it is being used as a weapon to oppress the weak.
“A poor man’s field may produce abundant food,
but injustice sweeps it away.”
Proverbs 13:23 (NIV)
This verse perfectly describes a disgusting reality that presents itself in rural Malawi.
A Poor Man’s Field
The poor people in the rural villages work hard (often battling against drought) to cultivate their small lands (upon which their entire income and livelihood depends) in order to keep their families alive. These hard-working subsistence farmers toil tirelessly at their fields throughout the year trying to produce as much as possible – every year they never have enough. From their harvest, they need not only to feed their family, but they also need to sell some of the harvest to pay for medical expenses, school fees, and groceries.
Swept Away by Injustice
The maize merchants (often Muslims) are the heartless oppressors that mercilessly sweep away the food of these poor farmers in the rural villages. During harvest time, when these needy vulnerable rural farmers are (by this time) now desperate for cash, the merchants offer a very low price. The farmers reluctantly give their hard-earned harvest into the hands of another and receive pittance in turn for their hard work. They have no other choice.
The rural village farmer and his family are now left with a small part of the harvest (as he had to sell the rest), but this is not enough food to feed his family for the rest of the year. When this food runs out, they enter a time of the year commonly known to them as the Hunger Season! It is called this because there is no more food in their homes and precious little money to buy any replenishment. When they go to the market (to the same traders who bought their harvest from them) to see if they can buy some food, they are demoralized and nauseated to find that the price is now 4-8 times the price they sold it for! There is no way they can afford this. And so the oppressive hunger continues, intensified by the greed of the traders.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor!
– Psalm 72:4
The government of Malawi, having identified this problem of hunger, have attempted to provide a solution which, if it were not for insidious corruption, would have been a great help. But because of corrupt, greedy officials and merchants, the system that was intended to help rural Malawians suffering with hunger has become a weapon in the hands of insipid merchants to drain the hope of the intended beneficiaries whilst enriching the pockets of the oppressor.
Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors Him.
– Proverbs 14:31
The Joseph Compassion Project
Motivated by the Biblical story of how God used Joseph in Egypt to provide food during famine, High Light Africa has initiated a project which aims to help these oppressed and vulnerable rural families to have access to affordable food during the Hunger Season. Essentially, what the Joseph Compassion Project aims to do is to give an option to the rural farmer to sell his maize at a reasonable price during the Harvest Season, and then make the same grain available to the him during the hunger season at the same price he sold it for with the addition of a small storage fee to enure that the project self-sustaining.
Basically, what the Joseph Compassion Project is doing is providing food security for the rural farmer by storing his grain safely whilst temporarily turning his grain into (desperately needed) usable cash.
Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
– Isaiah 1:17
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
We can only succeed in the Joseph Compassion Project if we are able to get support and assistance from the body of Christ – that is His Church. We cannot accomplish this project on our own, we need your help. You can read more about this project by following this link: The Joseph Compassion Project.
Please prayerfully consider making a donation towards the Joseph Compassion Project. You can find our banking details HERE.
Most farmers have just harvested their maize now in April. This means that the price is quite low at this time, but it will not be like this for long. This year’s harvest has been very poor due to the dry ‘rainy’ season. By the end of May, early June, the hunger season will strike again and get progressively worse until next year April (harvest time).
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
– Luke 4:18-19
Thank you for your prayers and support.
May God richly bless you.
In His service – and loving it!
“That His glory may dwell in the land.” – Psalm 85:9b