Barely a week before the three-month export window closes, grain traders have only exported 17 478 metric tonnes (MT) of maize out of the 130 000MT under export permits, it has been established.
Figures from the Ministry of Trade show that the maize was exported to Zimbabwe, which last week banned maize imports due to surplus production in that country.
Maize traders have been selling maize to Zimbabwe at between $260 [K202 800] to $300 [234 000] per MT.
In an interview on Thursday, Ministry of Trade spokesperson Mayeso Msokera said that in collaboration with the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre and the Export Development Fund, they have been looking for more diversified markets both in the Southern Africa region and beyond, especially in countries where there is maize deficit.
He said: “The ministry is aware that some of the deficit markets such as Zimbabwe that were targeted at the time the maize export window was opened are no longer viable due to anticipated bumper harvests and resultant declining prices.”
Msokera said they are facilitating memorandum of understanding on trade and economic cooperation between Malawi and South Sudan which will, among other things, allow Malawi to export about 90 000MT of maize flour and grain.
In March this year, Ministry of Trade partially lifted a maize export ban to mop up last year’s maize stocks to create space for the anticipated maize surplus this year.
In an interview on Friday, Grain Traders and Processors Association of Malawi president Grace Mhango said following Zimbabwe’s move to ban maize imports, local grain traders have no market for their commodity.