Malawi President Peter Mutharika has appealed to the country’s development partners to assist government replenish Strategic Grain Reserves (SGR) in the wake of reduced food production this year due to drought and floods in some parts of Malawi.
Government plans to allocate about K8 billion (US$18 604 651) to replenish the SGR as the country prepares to face a food shortage following a dry spell and floods in the past growing season.
Mutharika made the appeal on Tuesday in his State of the Nation Address during the opening of the 2015/16 Budget Meeting of Parliament.
Malawi this year expects a 27.7 percent drop in crop production.
According to the second round of the 2014/15 crop estimates, maize production has decreased from 3 978 123 MT to 2 898 123 MT in the current agricultural season, representing a 27.7 percent decline.
Mutharika said the results of the 2014/15 crop estimates were also showing a slight decrease in other major food crops such as rice, millet, cassava and sorghum.
He said: “Mr. Speaker, Sir, to mitigate the looming food shortage and to ensure availability of food at household and national levels, government has allocated K8 billion in the 2015/16 budget for restocking the Strategic Grain Reserves.”
But as a short-term measure, the government has so far provided affected smallholder farmers with early maturing maize seed to replant, fertiliser, sweet potato vines and cassava cuttings.
A member of Parliament (MP) from the opposition is also expected to table a motion in Parliament calling for loan recapitalisation of Admarc so that the State produce trader buys maize on time and cut out intermediaries.