Malawi Government has projected a maize surplus of 740 000 metric tonnes this year, which if achieved, will be about 50 percent higher than last year’s surplus.
Malawi’s Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Peter Mwanza announced the projection on Wednesday in Lilongwe when he addressed a news conference on the ban of maize exports and the buying of farm produce from farmers with the intention of hoarding the produce for exports.
Last year, Malawi recorded a maize surplus of about 500 000 metric tonnes.
In 2012, Malawi harvested 3.624 million metric tons of maize, with a surplus of 566 552 metric tons whereas in 2011, the harvest was 3.8 million metric tons and a surplus of 1.2 million metric tons. The national maize requirement is pegged at 2.6 million metric tons.
Mwanza, who was flanked by fellow Cabinet colleagues Sosten Gwengwe (Industry and Trade) and Moses Kunkuyu (Information and Civic Education) said the surplus is on the back of government’s Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) and the Green Belt Initiative, among other factors.
In recent years, the country has been recording back-to-back years of bumper maize harvests largely because of internationally funded seed and fertiliser subsidies.
Commenting on maize availability at the moment, Mwanza said the situation remains critical, but said State produce trader the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) has started buying the new maize in the Southern Region.
He said Malawi lost about 140 000 metric tonnes of maize during the lean season beginning January 2013 due to informal trading despite police being placed in strategic borders across the country.
On his part, Kunkuyu said unlicensed traders are contravening the Agriculture General Purpose Act of 1987, the Smallholder Marketing Regulation Act of 1987 and the Business Licensing Act No. 27 of 2012.