Malawi’s government has announced plans to send 5,000 young people to work on Israeli farms, despite criticism for sending 221 young people to the country last weekend.
“We are looking at an initial figure of around 5,000, that’s what we are targeting now,” Malawi Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu told the BBC Newsday programme on Tuesday.
“Others [Malawians] have been there for more than five years and we’re just adding to those figures.”
The minister defended the much-criticised move, saying that it was part of the government’s ongoing program of providing employment to young people locally and abroad.
“This has been happening in Malawi for decades and we’ve been exporting young people to countries in Africa and outside Africa,” Mr Kunkuyu added.
Malawian opposition leader Kondwani Nankhumwa had on Monday bashed the government during an interview with BBC Newsday, accusing it of endangering Malawians by sending them to a country at war.
Mr Kunkuyu, however, said that Israel had assured Malawi that its citizens will work in safe zones unaffected by the fighting.
The Malawians will replace some of the more than 10,000 foreign farm workers who have left Israel due to the war.