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Treasury defends Mvac figures

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As some quarters continue questioning the reliability of the 2016/2017 Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) report figures, Treasury has said the report has achieved its intended purpose.

The report is now being doubted after observations that despite Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) and government’s failure to import the promised 400,000 metric tonnes of maize, the grain continues to be available locally and people are buying the maize from Admarc depots.

National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA), which restocked through local maize purchase, also reported to a joint parliamentary committee of Agriculture and Public Accounts that it was overwhelmed by the response from local maize dealers.

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According to NFRA, the money allocated to it was not even enough to exhaust all the maize.

All these developments prompted Member of Parliament for Dowa West, Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi, to ask Secretary to the Treasury, Ronald Mangani, on whether the Mvac report stands to be trusted or not.

“Do you think Mvac report should be trusted with NFRA saying the selling of local maize was oversubscribed?” Dzonzi queried.

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While saying statistics are what they are, Mangani said the methodology in Mvac benefits from any input including Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development’s crop estimates and it is a regionally accepted methodology.

Mangani said the country needs Mvac report at all cost.

“Mvac numbers were meant to inform the humanitarian response and not the commercial response and in terms of humanitarian response, we have done better. Commercial response was equally important because even those people who can afford to buy did not harvest enough for themselves,” Mangani said.

He, however, s a i d methodologies used in coming up with the report can improve overtime and Members of Parliament should help the Treasury to improve the system.

“But it has helped us to have a reference point,” he said.

Crop estimates showed that maize production during the 2015/2016 agricultural season had dropped by 12.4 percent in comparison to 2014/2015 season.

The survey estimated maize production at 2,431,313 metric tonnes compared to 2776,277 metric tonnes during the 2014/2015 production season.

The national maize food requirement is estimated at 3.2 million metric tonnes translating to a maize deficit of about 768,687 metric tonnes.

Mvac forecast for the April 2016 to March 2017 consumption period indicated that 6.7 million people would not be able to meet their annual food requirement.

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