World Bank offers K6bn for maize
Malawi government has secured $16,000 million (about K6 billion) from World Bank for buying maize in the face of looming hunger.
Up to 2.8 million Malawians are likely going to face starvation in 25 districts in the country, according to a Malawi Vulnerability Committee (Mvac) report.
Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Nations Msowoya told The Daily Times in an exclusive interview on Thursday that there is no cause for panic as government has sourced enough funds to carter for the food deficit.
In the just-approved 2015/16 financial plan, government set aside K8 billion for the procurement of the staple grain bringing to K14 billion the total of funds sourced so far.
“National Food Reserve Agency, in corroboration with Commodity Exchange both under Auction Holdings and Africa Commodity Exchange are already on the ground procuring the maize. Government has also concluded a procurement contract with Zambia of 50,000 metric tonnes of maize, which has started arriving in the country,” said Msowoya.
He further said the authorities are also studying crop estimates prepared by National Statistic Office and Ministry of Agriculture to have a fair picture of how much maize is available locally.
Msowoya also said depending on tonnage, a decision will be made on whether to but the grain from smallholder farmers who have a surplus.
According to Msowoya, government is also banking on other initiatives such as the Public Works Programme to make food available to everyone.
“For those who might not be able to receive the maize, then they will have an opportunity to buy for themselves with money that they will get through the Public Works Programme. When the 2015/16 Budget was being developed, we were already aware of the challenges ahead so we planned well,” he said.
Meanwhile, Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) has suspended maize sales in all its outlets to pave way for efficient and speedy replenishing of its stock.
The country needs an additional 150,000 metric tonnes of the grain as this year’s crop output has dropped by 30 percent.
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