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World Bank projects 7.4% rise in maize production

Malawi outlook mixed

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Tamani Nkhono Mvula

The World Bank has projected that global maize output will increase by 7.4 percent in the 2021- 22 season while demand would surge by 2.5 percent.

This is contained in a recent bi-annual publication by the Britton Woods institution called Commodity Markets Outlook.

The report indicates that maize prices fell to $230 per mmt in September after surging earlier in the year.

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“The decline reflects a good, completed harvest in the Northern Hemisphere, favourable growing conditions in the Southern Hemisphere, and weakening animal feed demand by China as the country gradually recovers from African swine fever by rebuilding its hog population.

“Global maize production is expected to grow by 7.4 percent this season compared to 2020- 21, while consumption is projected to increase by 2.5 percent. Thus, the stocks-to-use ratio is set to reach 0.26, marginally higher than last season’s ratio,” the report reads.

In an interview, agriculture expert Tamani Nkhono Mvula expressed reservations on Malawi following the trend, stressing that performance of the local industry is determined by weather and accessibility of inputs.

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“Production of maize in Malawi is not necessarily affected by international issues; for the past 20 years it has been influenced by availability of fertiliser and seeds mainly under the subsidy programme and good weather. So, if we talk about having a good production, it will depend on having good rainfall this year.

“The other thing is that North American countries produce most of their maize for the livestock industry which drives demand but most of the maize produced in Malawi is for household consumption,” Nkhono Mvula said.

In a separate interview Africa Institute for Corporate Citizenship (AICC) Chief Executive Officer Driana Lwanda said the country could register another bumper yield next year.

“Looking at the rainfall pattern forecast from the Meteorological Department, we should expect maize to grow above average. Already some areas have started receiving rains since October and this, coupled with access to inputs through the Affordable Inputs Programme, Malawi should expect more bumper yields and above average production for maize,” Lwanda said.

Agriculture supply-chain expert Leonard Chimwaza said there was a need to revamp agriculture extension services.

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