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Maize output down 18%—survey

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Gracious Lungu

By Patience Lunda

The third and final Agriculture Production Estimates Survey has indicated that Malawi has harvested 3, 716, 479 metric tonnes of maize as compared to last year’s 4, 581, 524 tonnes which shows an 18.9 percent drop.

Ministry of Agriculture Public Relations Officer, Gracian Lungu attributed the decrease to late onset of rainfall, back-to-back tropical cyclones Ana and Gombe as well as low inorganic fertilizer uptake in some areas.

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The survey also shows that output for crops such as rice, millet, sorghum, cotton, sunflower, wheat, beans and cowpeas has also gone down as compared to last year.

Despite the decrease, the county has however registered positive results in most animal species such as cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, doves, turkeys, ducks, rabbits and guinea pigs.

Lungu then stamped an assurance that the country is still food secure despite the decrease in the maize output.

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He among others said Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) has adequate maize stocks even though it is under collateral highlighting that talks are underway to procure the maize by paying back the loan that the grain trader got from commercial banks.

“We have done well in some areas and others we haven’t and during the second round of the estimates we had anticipated a 14 percent decrease but the third round has shown us otherwise so we want to assure the general public that we are still food secure despite the decrease,” he said.

Commenting on the development, Agriculture Expert Tamani Nkhono Mvula said the decrease could mean that some households are food insecure which is why there is a need for the maize to be evenly distributed in the country else other districts would be rendered desperate.

“We have been surplus as a country but that has not translated into the fact that every household has been reached with food so that will be a challenge which is why we need to ensure that this food is distributed in the country by making sure that institutions such as Admarc are working to do that,” he said.

Malawi’s annual maize requirement is estimated at around 3.1 million metric tonnes.

The latest Malawi Food Security Outlook report indicates that households’ food stocks in the Southern Region are expected to be exhausted by August compared to October in a typical year, due to an unprecedentedly dry start to the agricultural season in the Southern Region and back-to-back tropical storms which significantly impacted crop production, the report notes.

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