Malawi could benefit from a possible food shortage in the USA which has been hit by drought and floods this year, Auction Holdings Limited (AHL) chief executive officer Evans Matabwa has said.
Matabwa has since tipped the country on how to diversify its export base, citing a variety of crops which, he said, should be promoted â€˜as a matter of urgencyâ€™ as an ultimate solution to diversifying the economy.
He said this in his 16-paged presentation titled â€˜A stitch in time: Deleting the economics of overdependence which was submitted and circulated at the Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) congress held last week.
â€œIn recent times, this [diversification in agriculture] has been singled out as one of the best solutions for the country to move forward economically.
â€œHowever, easier as it sounds, diversification itself has not succeeded at the pace any desperate Malawian would desire to see,â€ said Matabwa.
He said at the moment, there is a lot of talk of a possible food shortage in the USA this year following the drought and floods that have affected production.
There are widespread fears this year of a worst drought in US since 1934, with 64 percent of the country desperately hoping for rain, according to international media reports.
International analysts, however, predict that such a situation in the US will likely trigger a massive price hike of most foodstuffs as supply falls short of aggregate demand for food commodities.
Matabwa also noted that there is ever-increasing demand for food commodities in China and India owing to the large population in the two countries.
â€œThese are just a few of many opportunities which have always been available, but not reachable for Malawi to tap,â€ he added.
The AHL boss specifically singled out crops such as pigeon peas, soya beans, coffee, rice, groundnuts, beans, maize which he stressed that need to be promoted as a matter of urgency.
Matabwa said Malawi has numerous markets, but noted that the value of past transactions in such markets has been low and without capacity to stimulate growth.
He also said little is known about Malawi markets saying such markets are known and serviced by very few individual traders and not farmers.
Matabwa also faulted traders currently utilising Malawi markets, saying their performance is generally limited to their capacity but do not share the market information with other prospecting or existing local players.
â€œThis limited information about the countryâ€™s potential to produce has denied Malawi of the vast trading opportunities on the globe. There is no visibility for the country,â€ he said.