The Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) says it expects to increase maize supplies to its depots following the importation of 500 metric tonnes (MT) of the grain into Malawi from Zambia.
In an interview on Wednesday, Admarc chief executive officer Foster Mulumbe said the 500 MT of maize is part of the 200 MT of grain which Admarc is expected to buy from Tanzania and Zambia.
“We have already imported 500 MT of maize from Zambia to Lilongwe and we are expecting the next consignment by mid-December. We have been buying this maize at K250 per kg and we will continue to sell at the same price in our depots.
“By mid- December, we should be able to buy 200 000 MT, 100 000 MT from Zambia and another 100 000 MT from Tanzania,” he said.
Mulumbe said the grain is expected to increase maize stocks at Admarc depots, which opened on October 24.
In his budget presentation, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe told Parliament that it is estimated that the country requires an additional 790 000 MT of relief food to support an estimated 8.4 million people where an additional 250 000 MT is required for sale in Admarc markets, while another 250 000 MT is required to restock the strategic grain reserves.
Gondwe announced that the 2016/17 budget formally identifies Government intervention to the current food crisis as a key priority area by including an allocation of K35.5 billion to the purchasing of food.
In addition, Gondwe said that as opposed to maize sold in Admarc markets, government will also be banking on humanitarian food assistance from among others World Food Programme, AfDB, China and the United States (US).
Meanwhile, Admarc has sold about 1 000 MT of maize since the markets opened last month.
“So far we have sold about 1 000 MT most of it from the Southern Region. This is so because production in the Central and Northern Region was not as bad as was in the Southern Region. Now demand is picking up and by December, we should see more people coming to buy our maize,” he said.
Mulumbe, however, said that there has been no scramble for maize this season as most of the people are buying maize for consumption unlike in the past where traders would come and buy the maize for resale,” he said.
Admarc has already spent K22.4 billion on local maize purchases of about 100 000 MT which it dispatched to depots.
Admarc said it has borrowed the money for maize purchases from two local commercial banks.