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Maize exports rake in K3.6 billion

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Mayeso Msokera

Earnings from maize exports hit K3.6 billion (about $4.4 million) by mid-June after the country sold about 20,000 metric tonnes, figures from the Ministry of Trade show.

Earlier this year, the government lifted the maize export ban which was placed in February 2018.

According to the ministry, this decision was taken to allow the economy to off-take excess stocks of maize from last year’s harvest.

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The ministry believes that the exportation of maize would not affect the food security situation in the country due to a projected bumper maize harvest for the 2020/21 farming season following the successful implementation of the Affordable Input Programme.

The export licences that were approved had a validity period of three months from the date of issue with the issuance being closed on April 23 2021.

According to Ministry of Trade spokesperson Mayeso Msokera, the decision to export surplus maize was made to allow for restocking of the strategic grain reserves with the new maize.

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“Currently, the Ministry of Trade is reviewing the 2021 national food balance sheet figures in consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture and other relevant stakeholders. A decision to reopen the maize export window will soon be made after the process is complete,” Msokera said.

Earlier this year, the ministry indicated that Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Sudan expressed interest in off-taking the maize.

Grain Traders and Processors Association of Malawi President Grace Mijiga-Mhango said exporting maize would be difficult in the coming months.

“Real markets that we are targeting for now are only Mozambique and Zimbabwe but, often this time of the year they are also harvesting. Unless they see that they have a deficit, then we should expect prices to go up,” She said.

She said despite efforts made by the government to have some of the maize exported to South Sudan, the commodity is still fetching low prices.

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