Farmers Union of Malawi (Fum) has said a maize export ban can be ineffective unless the government buys all the maize from private traders.
Minister of Agriculture, Joseph Mwanamvekha, confirmed last week that maize export ban could be one of the interventions the government can use to cushion Malawians from looming hunger.
“As a ministry, we will discuss what we should do to address the problem once we have the actual figures of the damage [of maize by weather patterns and the fall army worm] but, by now, I think people can see that President Peter Mutharika had a point when the government imposed a maize export ban so that we have enough food in the country. Whether the ban will be reintroduced or not will be communicated soon,” he said.
But Fum President, Alfred Kapichira Banda, said during the maize export ban last year, private traders bought all the surplus maize from farmers.
Banda said, although imposing another ban makes sense looking at the current food situation, the maize which is with private traders will still be sold at a higher price, making it unaffordable to most of the population.
“All the maize in private traders’ warehouses should move to government warehouses because it is the government which has the responsibility of feeding the nation. Even if the ban is imposed, if the maize will be with the vendors, the government will not have a say over it,” he said.
There are prospects of hunger in the country due to the fall armyworm, and inconsistent weather patterns.
As of last week, preliminary figures from the Ministry of Agriculture indicate that about 850,000 households have been hit by the dry spell
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