Malawi’s total informal cross border maize exports slumped 16 percent between April and December 2012 to 22 812 metric tonnes, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) latest report has said.
According to Fewsnet’s Malawi Food Security Outlook, the tonnage is lower than the five-year average of maize exports.
The exports happened despite an ongoing national maize export ban affected last year.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade said last year that the export of maize and maize products requires an export licence issued by the ministry before a trader effects any exportation.
This is in accordance with the Control of Goods Act chapter 18:08 of the Laws of Malawi. In November 2012, government reaffirmed its stance emphasising that the export ban was not lifted.
The Fewsnet report indicates that over 90 percent of maize exports recorded in 2012 transited through Songwe and Mbirima, along the Malawi-Tanzania border.
But informal maize imports into Malawi tell a different story. Between April and December 2012, Malawi informally imported 13 486 metric tonnes of maize which formed 33 percent of the average.
The report attributes the reduction in import volumes, particularly into southern Malawi to a number of factors such as reduced availability of maize in neighbouring Mozambique during the lean season.
“There were no imports recorded through Muloza, on the Malawi-Mozambique Border, between April and December 2012. This is a very uncharacteristic behaviour as nearly 80 percent of informal cross border maize trade between these two countries typically occurs through the Muloza Border point,” reads the report.
The report further indicates that there are unreliable reports of reversed trade flows, with Mozambican traders purchasing Malawian maize.
From January to March 2013, Fewsnet believes that maize markets in southern Malawi will continue to receive maize supplies from atypical source-markets in the Central and Northern regions of the country.
However, assuming good production in Mozambique, Fewsnet says from April to June 2013, local harvests and maize imports from that country will resume.