Govt to engage Illovo in maize production to avert persistent food shortages in Malawi

Finance minister Goodall Gondwe says government will engage Illovo Sugar Company for  maize production on its large  land.

Gondwe: We will inlove Illovo

Gondwe: We will inlove Illovo

Gondwe said this in parliament as members of parliament were increasingly concerned because of food shortages in the country and the impending drought next year.

Most of the legislators said although the government promised relief food for starving Malawians, the distribution exercise has not yet started, saying some starving Malawians are living on mangoes which they said are now coming off season.

Gondwe said the government knows the situation is dire and would speed up the distribution exercise of relief maize and other food items.

He also said as a long time plan, the government is engaging Illovo on maize contract farming to avert food shortages in future.

Gondwe said this year the government has imported 33000 metric tonnes of maize and bought locally another 22000 metric tonnes which he said should e enough.

However, Salima south east MP Jessie Kabwila wondered why the government wanted to engage Illovo now when Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera advised the government on the same in May.

Lilongwe Msozi South MP Vitus Dzoole Mwale asked the government to declare Malawi state of disaster due to the severe food shortages that has hit all parts of the country and faulted the government for its handling of the issue.

On FISP, Gondwe said the programme was this year riddled with problems because, among other things, government owed suppliers K155 billion in arrears for seed during last year’s programme.

He said the government then promised to fund this year’s seed component of the programme but there were logistical delays.

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39 thoughts on “Govt to engage Illovo in maize production to avert persistent food shortages in Malawi”

  1. kavuluvulu says:

    Why not engage commercial farmers whose estates have been idle for the past few years?

    Nonetheless this js a step in the right direction.

    We cannot subsidise subsistence farming.

  2. Kenkkk says:

    Mwachaje, I really don’t see any relevance with population data. The 80s policies are still relevant but tailored to each successive period accordingly. You mean we should tolerate poverty, hunger, diseases, etc just because the population has increased. What a stupid way of thinking?

    Why don’t you give us the gdp figures or income or expenditures as well for the same periods?

    What is your message? Condoning this govt failures by blaming population increase?

  3. Chingolopiyo says:

    I thought we sent the State Vice President to Israel to have a grimpse of what Israel is doing its irrigation? What has that trip benefited the Malawi nation? Or the report from Dr/ Mr S Chilima is not ready?

  4. Woyera Kamasula says:

    Jessie said Chakwera said this sometime ago. If you suggest to a man to marry a lady and the man does what you have suggested, you would be stupid to feel high as if it is you who has married the lady. If he doesn’t marry the lady, you would as well be stupid to feel sad and think you are a failure! An advice or suggestion can be or cannot be taken. So Jessie you have scored a zero on this one.

  5. mwachaje says:

    Here are Malawi population figures from 1960 to 2015 to give a background to this discussion.
    1960—3,525,127
    1970— 4,529,749
    1980— 6,236,824
    1990— 9,447,123
    2000— 11,321,500
    2010— 15,013,690
    2013—- 16,362,570
    2015—- 17,653,786
    Now tell us whether or not the policies during the eighties are still relevant in 2015.

    1. John says:

      Kkkkkk. But the background information is not enough make any meaningful discussion here let alone we don’t know what policies they are being talked about.

  6. Historian says:

    Kamuzu once said “Democracy is war” to many of us we understood dis in a distorted way we thought Malawi wl be another Mozambique.Its only now we r realising de war he meant was of making crucial decision at a crucial time which has been lacking in our leaders since de dawn of multiparty.De results are perennial hung and poverty which in turn is killing many dis is de war which Kamuzu mean when he said it way back in 1993 at a Balaka rally!

  7. oga chijoke says:

    Otembo onanena kale zimenezi kuti onthomene mukuwapatsa sabuside sothandiza kuti chakudya chichuluke. Nchifukwa onkati tiike yunivesosabuside.tudziwa kuti ndalama kulibe koma bola ngati khobidi lachepa kupatsa alimi akuluakulu kuti alime ncholinga choti chimanga chizipezeka. Amene olandila sabuside pano ndamenenso azifuna chimanga chaulele nde sabuside igwila ntchito yanji?

  8. mapwevupwevu says:

    Koma Jessie Kabwila is really stupid!

  9. Phaghlani Vwavwa says:

    There is always a price to pay for electing into leadership positions people who are dull and daft just because they belong to your preferred tribe or region. We will continue to pay a price

  10. JAPHET KAIRA says:

    Malawi shud learn that there a big difference bwn interegent and wisdom there4 we r fond fo choosing the so called profers.bt no wisdom at all.Failing to manage hunger.visite the Bible if u may find an interegent king, they are all wise kings

  11. Goliati says:

    Illovo is for sugar, kamuzu and MCP made press Agriculture for various variety of crops, but mumaganiza kamuzu ndiwoipa kuwononga ulimi ndi ku matsogoza uvenda wa tamic,Tsoka inu A DPP ndikuuzeni lero ,ine ndi mlomwe mzanu koma machitidwe anu kwa amalawi kumatenga ngati anzeru kwambiri mudzadziwona

  12. chinkombaleza gumanyundo gowa says:

    Where is NASFAM and Farmers world, Seed producers, Grain millers to support irrigation schemes on maize growing. The government should take bold steps to empower farmers with potential to grow surplus maize. If I were to be given Land and some financial support you would see what I could produce throughout the year. While you think about it Let Illovo not only help us but teach us how to do it.

  13. Sapitwa says:

    Zonsezi ndi MCP ndi Kamuzu wawo yemwe anaononga Dzokoli.
    Life President of Malawi and Minister of Agriculture from 1964 to 1994. 31 years with not much of Commercial Farming on maize; only chingambwe. Lero ndi izi tu ati kufuna kulamuliranso nyau zimenezi!

  14. John says:

    IF GOVT CAN DEMOSTRATE APPETITE FOR FOREIGN GOODS SUCH AS COAL FROM MOZAMBIQUE INSTEAD OF EMPOWERING MECHENGA AND KAZIWIZIWI, WHAT ELSE DO YOU EXPECT FROM ORDINANRY MALAWIANS? FIND MEANS OF TRANSPORTING COAL TO KAMMWAMBA FROM MCHENGA AND KAZIWIZIWI BY WATER AND RAIL. IT IS MUCH CHEAPER IF YOU CONSIDER THAT FOREX IS AT STAKE HERE!

    POOR REASONING! HAVE YOU DONE YOUR COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS? WHO WAS DOING IT?

  15. John says:

    GOODALL GONDWE, WHERE WERE YOU ALL THIS TIME? DID YOU HAVE TO WAIT FOR HUNGER TO STRIKE FIRST FOR YOU TO SEE THE NEED TO PARTNER WITH ILLOVO?

    FOR YOUR INFORMATION, ILLOVO PRODUCES ITS OWN ELECTRICITY AND IT ALWAYS HAS A SURPRISE. ASK ESCOM TO TAP SOME OF IT INTO ITS GRID NOW THAT WE HAVE PERSISTENT POWER CUTS!

    ONE OF THE REASONS WHY THIS COUNTRY WILL NEVER DEVELOP IS THAT WE ARE A SICK NATION WHICH ALWAYS RESPONDS TO EMERGENCIES INSTEAD OF PLANNING AHEAD OF TIME.

    THIS HABIT HAS GOT TO STOP!~

  16. Chidzukulu says:

    A jessie dont piliticise everything, after all thats what chakwera is being paid for. Infact you are all being paid from our money to positively contribute to the development of this country. Ngati boma lavomereza maganizo anu ndizabwino sipopangira matama apa.

  17. trust kamanga says:

    Aaaaaaa alomwe shupiti

  18. Cardiac arrest says:

    I have said this before, Malawians we are in deep shit.

  19. all-i-can-say says:

    What happened to Press agriculture farms? You can see the impact of clue-less Muluzi’s policies and his band of thugs when UDF was in power. Malawi used to have maize in abundance and some of it was exported because of those farms which were scrapped and God knows what happened to the land? These jokers just need to revisit how Kamuzu ensured food sufficiency and learn a thing or two. Pathetic!!

  20. Twaibu Mmadi says:

    This program has a good sound. But there is a need for being specific on this. When exactly is this contract going to start because Malawi frankly speaking is indeed in fire.

  21. Tengupenya says:

    This one for Legislator Kabwila. Hon., there is some tardiness always. The important thing is that government has agreed with the suggestion to engage Illovo on staple production. Kudos to those who made the suggestion and to those who have acted on the suggestion. Team work at work!

    Now please engage government to irrigate the Lilongwe Kasungu plains using lake Malawi waters lifted to mvera using green energy; to connect the farming communities of Chitipa-Nyika – Rumphi to markets. These are massive investments in solar energy and irrigation, and in agrimarketing infrastructure, but the return would be sustainable food security putting to rest the perpetual hunger issue.

  22. romento says:

    “m’mbuyo mwa lendo?!!” This proposal has been on the cards since Bakili’s time; but politicians thought they could get cheap votes (and make easy money) with the obscenely priced FISP. Now they have realised that FISP with perennial hunger may not be such a wise move after all.

    Malawi can afford to have bumper harvests even when rains fail – if the growing of maize is commercialised rather than politicised. It is better to have slightly expensive maize that is available locally than to have hunger and then import maize at exorbitant prices.

    Let Malawi’s small middle class grow maize – at a profit – and we will turn into a grain exporting country again. Maize is the easiest crop to grow – if you are not a dirt poor peasant farmer. If people with means can be allowed to recover their inputs and make a decent profit, scarcity of maize will be history…

    I grew maize once during Muluzi’s time. The price of maize was then K850 per bag (50kg); there had been a terrible shortage the previous farming season. I was looking forward to selling the excess of about 100 bags (one of my neighbours had 3,000 bags!) to recover my input costs. At a political meeting (I think it was in Nkhotakota), Bakili unilaterally announced that the price had been reduced to K550 per bag. I scrapped my plans to sell and instead used that maize for the next 4 years. I remember I had a tough time re-fumigating it every 6 months or so but this was better than selling it at a loss. Our political leaders are the ones who cause the problem by clinging to unsustainable political goals…

  23. Mania says:

    just create another ILLOVO like company but producing maize….we still have a lot of idle land

  24. Mnyamata wa nzeru says:

    Goodall Gondwe, please retire!! Your economic theories have failed!! Leave the post to young minds with relevant ideas!!

  25. zayakunkhongo says:

    2014-2015 Budget for FISP was K60 billion but the govt has arrears in excess of K155 billion for seed last season only.

    1. Gadabwali says:

      K60 bn was approved by parliament, yet there are arrears of K155 bn for seed? Meaning the total spent on seed alone is K210 bn? Can the Hon. Minister tell us the figure for fertilizer? I thnk cashgate is a process, it is not an event!

  26. Bwemba Sodyeramchere says:

    This is a bright idea engage illovo indeed and please Jesse don’t start taking credits on issues that concerns people’s lives politicking is not the solution but doing the right thing. Whether it’s chakwera or whosoever what we want to see is enough food for the people not who suggested what.

  27. haha says:

    Now govt is thinking. Some of us have always said scrap useless subsidies called FISP and invest half the FISP budget in commercial maize farming. The result would be amazing.
    Why do we have food shortage every year when govt spends K60 billion on FISP yearly?

    Another useless program that should go is the malata subsidy. These freebies encourage laziness among Malawians. Govt should know that 20% pay tax for the 80% who get free services including free hospital free education. The same 20% support the lazy 80% through extended family handouts.

  28. Kalinga 2 says:

    We are a very very shameful country! We are said to be agrarian but we cannot produce enough to feed ourselves! Now we want South Africans, in addition to growing sugar for us, they should be growing maize as well. Kenako tiwapempha azitilimira nandolo, ngungudzu ndi azinzawo! Shame!!!

    1. mogasa club member says:

      hehehe, nice one kalinga @ 9. mwina tiwapemphenso mabhuno kuti azitinyengela azikazi athu.

  29. mogasa club member says:

    ma plan atha, zalowano trial and error.

  30. mukharapwio says:

    kodi mwati anati k155 billion ma arrears a seed, achita accrue kwa zaka zingati or he wanted to say million tidziwabe choona.on hiring illovo i say ok but problem wont go.they will only produce a pittance harvest for consumption in malawi for just 11 days

  31. The Most Concerned says:

    DPP wil rule ths Country forever. Ths z the only Party tht has neva lost in any Elections.

  32. Bob says:

    Mr Minister mwakalamba . Why farm on my behal? As a local I need are land reformations and empowermen. Dont give is sweets Man

  33. nkhamanga njikari says:

    FISP is a bad way to help people have food on their table. Small holder farmers, especially the “poorest-of-the-poor”, lack the capacity to get value for the actual value of the free fertiliser and seed (including the logistics of getting these farm inputs to them). It is bad economics to continue with this program in the manner it is designed. It is only serving as a political bribe, a tool for buying votes. We can’t continue this way.

  34. Steven Malamba says:

    I really feel very sad when I hear the trash that the government says Illovo will grow it maize. Really? Sucoma and now Illovo, since they started growing cane and milling sugar since sixties, never a year passed when they failed to do it due to drought. They have green cane all round the year whether it rains or it doesn’t. Why? Irrigation! But this Illovo will never give water to the people around it’s estates to be growing their own food. The best they have always done is to grow maize for them. For how long shall we depend on Illovo? These people are using the shire river freely, use cheap labour from the area and no corporate social responsibility deserving any mention at all! Why doesn’t the government agree with Illovo to build canals in Chikwawa and Nsanje for the people to be growing their own food and consider Illovo on taxes to setoff their expenses for say 5-10years! Illovo makes billions of Kwacha every year from the same hot areas of malawi where Malawians are failing to grow food due to drought. And the governments of Malawi just watch. Am saying, enough is enough to be getting maize from Illovo on humanitarian grounds! Let Illovo give the people water and let government play it’s role by giving Illovo flexible tax payment in recognition of its role of providing water to the people. Government should always remember that the history of big estates in Southern Africa is that they oppress the locals financially so that they are perpetually dependent on cheap employment or labour. That’s why May Illovo will not be proactive in this because it may not want to loose cheap labour as people will become self reliant as they will be making money from their crops hence no need for any employment. Government please, go into serious negotiations with Illovo to provide water to the people of the Shire valley so that they should be growing food for Malawi and not handouts that they give every year. This is what reform should be! May I appeal to all members of parliament , councillors and chiefs from the Shire Valley to take this as a challenge and meet with Illovo management on this issue. You are leaders who understand the problem better and actually live it. Let’s see some change in the Shire valley and Malawi as whole on food production and availability! There is nothing to be apologetic about it because we deserve this service. In fact we deserved it forty years ago!

  35. matombodya says:

    Kabwila should have said thanks that Chakweras advice has been considered. The question of when does not matter. Advice is not a directive; it can be taken or left out

  36. Kenkkk says:

    This is long overdue. I have been to nchalo where thousands of hectares of land are idle but which illovo can easily irrigate and plant maize enough to feed the whole country. Similarly dwangwa.

    Laz advised you sometime ago but you dpp thugs as usual always think the opposition is stupid. We will save our hard earned forex by using our own local resources rather than importing maize.

    The same with coal, you dpp thugs want to use Mozambique coal, waste our forex when we can save it by using our own coal from the north. I forgot you don’t want the north developed.

    And you cry that you don’t have money, yet prepared to waste it to foreigners.

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