The country’s official grain marketer, Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) needs close to 75,000 metric tons (mt) of maize between now and the next harvest to be sold countrywide if the effects of hunger are to be cushioned.
In its National Food Security Forecast report for April, 2012 to March 2013, the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) indicated that about 1.6 people face a three to eight months annual food deficit requiring 75,394.32mt of maize in food assistance.
Admarc Public Relations Officer, Agnes Chikoko said the government parastatal has enough stocks to last the whole period if the grain in the National Strategic Grain Reserves (SGR) is anything to go by.
“As a nation, we do have enough stocks to last up to the next harvest period. The country has a Strategic Grain Reserve and its maize is released as required,” said Chikoko.
She assured people in the affected areas that Admarc is monitoring the situation closely and has intensified re-stocking of maize in its depots in the affected areas.
The PRO also indicated that Admarc was ready to open new markets to meet customer’s convenience.
“By June, 2012, ADMARC had already started stocking maize in potentially hot spot areas of Nsanje, Chikhwawa, Blantyre, Balaka and Mangochi. In July and August, Zomba, Phalombe, Mulanje, Salima, Likoma and Chizumulu were also stocked.
“Additionally, in order to meet people’s needs in the affected areas, selling points are being opened based on demand of that particular area,” explained Chikoko.
However, the PRO emphasized that the restocking of markets is driven by people’s demands adding that in some areas the food situation is not critical giving examples in some districts in the Central and the Northern regions.
Elaborated Chikoko: “Demand is still low in the Central and Northern Regions except for Salima, Likoma, Chizumulu and Nkhotakota districts.”
Quizzed on how many tones of maize the grain marketer has bought with the K1.3 billion allocation by parliament in this year’s national budget, Chikoko disclosed that about 16,000 mt of maize have been bought adding that the process was ongoing.
She further divulged that most of the maize was being bought from the central and the north compared to the south since the two regions were not severely hit by hunger.
The MVAC report indicated that districts of Karonga and Mzimba in the North, Kasungu, Dedza, Ntcheu and Salima in the Central and Blantyre, Balaka, Chikhwawa, Mulanje, Mwanza, Mangochi, Phalombe, Neno, Nsanje, Thyolo and Zomba in the South were food insecure requiring about K6 billion wealth of food aid.
Government in conjunction with the World Food Programme has embarked on a relief food distribution exercise in some of the districts in which beneficiaries get a 50kg bag of maize.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :