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I've read Walden Bello's article, with keen interest and, whilst I concur with the gist, I am compelled to point out some factual inaccuracies and oversights on Malawi.

1) The amount of deaths from starvation in 2001-02 is approximated at 42,000 people and not i,500 as stated.

2) The maize shortage was indeed exacerabted by maize exports (approx 65000 tonnes) to Kenya nad other countries, at the behest of the IFIs, but it was further exacerbated by unscrupulous and corrupt speculation by local traders posing as fronts fro political elites - this is now popularly known as the 'maize scam'.

3) Whilst we did, indeed, enjoy a bumper crop last year, the much heralded maize exports to Zimbabwe and Lesotho appear to have been conducted without proper consideration for maintaining an adequate buffer stock to satisfy local needs, which is why people are suffering at present, with long queues waiting interminably to buy maize at official (lower) prices at the Agricultural Development & Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) Depots - and, after leaving empty handed, are forced to buy from private traders at MK3,500 (US$24) for a 50kg bag.whilst Ministers insist that there 'plenty' of maize available.

4) The subsidised fertiliser scheme, whilst conceptually laudable, has also produced an extremely fertile ground for corruption at all levels due to a weak and opaque management framework which provide virtually no window for independent monitoring. These factors are undermine the incredible potential to wrest the people of Malawi from the perpetual despair of grinding poverty and hunger.