The drop, according to the ministry, is mainly due to poor and erratic rainfall distribution.
But the ministry has projected a 365 percent increase for cotton production at 244 154 metric tonnes, up from 52 456 metric tonnes last season. The increase is mainly due to the K1.6 billion (about $10m) government set aside in the 2011/12 budget that has increased cotton hectarage from 200 000 in 2011 to 400 000 this year.
The current maize requirement for Malawi is 2 800 335 metric tonnes.
But taking into account post harvest losses, the ministry said the projected maize surplus is estimated at 566 552 metric tonnes. “The current maize national requirement for Malawi is 2 800 335 metric tonnes. This figure takes into account, the current population of Malawi as projected by the National Statistical Office (NSO) which is at 14 844 822. Therefore with production forecast of 3 618 699 metric tonnes, and considering post harvest losses at 12.9 percent, the projected maize surplus is estimated at 566 552 metric tonnes,” reads the statement in part.
Tobacco production has also decreased from 237 171 metric tonnes to 151 500 metric tonnes. This is attributed to price disincentive experienced by farmers in 2011.
The statement further said all other major crops, apart from rice estimated at 110 964 metric tonnes and sorghum estimated at 66 497 metric tonnes have registered increases in this round compared to last yearâ€™s production.
Ground nuts are estimated at 384 869 metric tonnes; wheat 1 956; millet 34 453; cassava 4 692 202 and sweet potatoes output is estimated at 3 582 428 metric tonnes.
Maize has been the main driver of inflation, accounting for 58.1 percent of the Consumer Price Index (CPI)â€”a measure that examines the weighted average of prices of a basket of consumer goods and services such as transportation and food.