State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) says more maize will be available in most of its depots this week following the purchase of 30 000 metric tonnes (MT) of the grain from Zambia.
Admarc chief executive officer Foster Mulumbe said this in an interview on Friday at Mwami Border Post in Mchinji when Admarc and government officials took delivery of 70 truck-loads of maize.
He told journalists who accompanied him on the mission that by the end of this week, Admarc depots would have enough maize in stock.
Mulumbe said the maize is expected to ease shortages being experienced in most parts of the country.
He said as of Friday, about 1 000MT of maize was ready for distribution to Admarc depots.
Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Principal Secretary Erica Maganga said Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe had also instructed Admarc to continue procuring the staple grain.
She said: “Admarc will purchase 30 000MT of non-genetically modified organism [GMO] white maize from Zambia. This will continue even after harvest season.”
In his Mid-year Budget Review Statement on Friday, Gondwe said the food situation was under control as maize had started trickling into the country.
He also disclosed that Treasury has empowered Admarc to procure another consignment of 50 000MT of maize from neighbouring Tanzania.
“As we see it, we have and will have enough maize in stock that will be more than enough to satisfy Admarc markets in the coming days,” Gondwe said.
According to Gondwe, donations from the United States of America (USA), China, Japan, the United Kingdom and Egypt will complement the supply of humanitarian food to those unable to buy maize.
In addition, he said, as opposed to maize sold in Admarc markets, humanitarian food is being distributed by the World Food Programme (WFP) and other agencies.
According to the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) report, about 20 percent the population (about 2.8 million) are food insecure in 25 of the country’s 28 districts.
The food crisis could even be worse this year as the 2015/16 agricultural production estimates survey results for the first round conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development show that this year’s national maize production is projected at 2 719 425 metric tonnes (MT), which is two percent lower than last year’s final round estimate of 2 776 277 MT.
In January 2015, Malawi experienced the combined effect of floods and drought which reduced harvest by a third, rendering 2.8 million people food insecure.