Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has unveiled plans to venture into contract farming with farmers—both subsistence and commercial—to restock strategic grain reserves (SGRs).
The ministry’s Principal Secretary Grey Nyandule Phiri said this in an interview on Sunday.
He said engaging farmers in contract farming of maize is a “brilliant idea”, which will fill the SGRs as they are planning to produce 100 000 metric tonnes through the exercise in the 2019/2020 growing season.
“Government has decided to indulge in contract farming for maize to replenish the SGRs. Therefore, we call upon cooperatives and other farmers to come forward and express interest to be under contract farming.
“In this contract farming government will be buying maize at K150 per kilogramme. So, get this message to all farmers out there,” he said.
The third round Agriculture Production Estimates Survey indicates that maize production is at 3 391 924 metric tonnes (MT), representing a 24.7 percent increase from the 2017/18 final round estimate of 2 697 959 MT.
According to the country’s SGR guidelines, it is recommended that the SGR size should be 217 000 tonnes, which comprise of 95 000 tonnes buffer stock, 8 000 tonnes emergency stock, 76 000 tonnes safety net stock for non-emergency response and 38 000 tonnes stabilisation stock.
A recent Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee report projected that 1 062 674 people will be at risk of food insecurity in 27 districts of the country (except Likoma) during the 2019/20 lean season.
Following the projection, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs facilitated the development of the 2019/20 Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Plan to mobilise resources, coordinate and guide the implementation of humanitarian assistance towards the affected people.
Speaking when he went to monitor food distribution exercise last week at Chakhaza Village in Traditional Authority Chakhaza in Dowa, Vice-President Everton Chimulirenji said more people in the country are becoming food insecure; hence, government’s efforts to make the country have enough food.