The Ministry of Agriculture has reiterated that the country has enough maize for both consumption and export.
The ministry says its balance sheet shows that the country has maize that could cover for nine months to March 2022.
This is in contrast to a recent Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) report which indicates that about 1.4 million Malawians face the risk of hunger this year.
According to information from the line minister Lobin Lowe posted on his Facebook page, total requirement for maize remains at 2.6 million metric Tonnes (mt) which includes 2.3 million mt for food, 47 million mt for seed, 16.4 thousand mt for Strategic Grain Reserve replenishment and 16.5 thousand mt for feed and industrial use.
He added that the country has a carryover stock of 3.7 million mt from on farm stock, physical stock, National Food Reserve Agency, Admarc and private traders which gives the country a total domestic balance of 1.3 million mt.
“Malawi has a lot of maize and, by the time the report says these people will need food assistance (December), stakeholders, departments, agencies that include Dodma and Admarc will be on the ground to make sure that food availability is not compromised,” Lowe said.
In an earlier interview, Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe said balance sheet informs them that they can proceed to export the maize.
But parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Grain Traders and Processors Association objected to the plans to export maize, saying the future remains murky.
The committee’s chairperson Sameer Suleman said rising prices of fertiliser and the Mvac report have already shown that the country faces the threat of hunger due to the number of people who lack food.
Grain Traders and Processors Association Chairperson Grace Mijiga Mhango also warned the government against what she rates as relaxing.
“Government should not count on maize which is with private traders because they can do anything with it including using illicit means to export it. Therefore, government should wait until we are sure of maize availability,” she said.
Maize is a staple grain in Malawi and the highest contributor to the country’s inflation Consumer Price Index
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
He is however flexible as he also writes about current affairs and national issues.