The National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA), which is keeping 25,312 metric tonnes (mt) of maize, has lost 40,000mt of its storage capacity at Kanengo in Lilongwe due to the tilting of 10 silos.
This was learnt Tuesday when President Lazarus Chakwera toured the facility to appreciate the quantity of maize in stock and how prepared the agency is to start buying the commodity from farmers.
NFRA Chief Executive Officer Brenda Kayongo said there are 48 silos at Kanengo, 36 of which have 5,000mt storage capacity while 12 silos are for short-term storage of commodities, with 1,250 capacity each.
Out of these, eight long-term silos tilted while two of the small silos were also not functional.
“The design capacity of Kanengo silos was 180,000 metric tonnes but, because of the tilting, we lost 40,000 metric tonnes space,” she told journalists.
Kayongo indicated that NFRA needs K6 billion to maintain all the silos, which were commissioned in 1979.
Later in the day, while speaking at a development rally in Mchinji District, Chakwera said engineers would be engaged to see to it that the silos are maintained.
For maize purchase, she said NFRA was waiting for the K12 billion that Parliament approved for the agency to use in purchasing maize from farmers this year.
She is expected to meet with Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe on Thursday this week to discuss the maize buying process, with plans to purchase 50,000mt of maize this year.
Chakwera and Lowe also told the gathering that, as much as some households might not have maize, government agencies have stored enough maize for the nation.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.