Ban all maize exports, parliamentary committee tells government

Despite the country registering a bumper maize harvest during last agricultural season there are fears that there could be a scarcity of the commodity in the near future and the parliamentary committee on agriculture has advised government to consider issuing a maize export ban.

Suleman: Call for a ban on maize export

Among others, the Committee cited the heightening rise of fertilizer prices as a factor that would affect the amount of maize produce in the next growing season.

“The country may have lower yields if rising fertilizer prices are not contained…and allowing people to export maize will expose the country to food shortage and rising prices,” Sameer Suleman, parliamentary agriculture committee chairperson, said.

A recent Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) report shows that the number of people requiring relief food in the country stands at 1.5 million, about 43 percent lower than 2.6 million projected last year but it could worsen based on the prevailing indicators.

According to Suleman, the ban would be in the best interest of all Malawians and that it would be reasonable to suspend exportation of maize now until the country was sure of a surplus.

Grain Traders and Processors Association Chairperson, Grace Mijiga Mhango, advised government to purchase more produce through Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) and National Food Reserve Agency (NRFA) before exporting.

“Government should not rely on maize in the hands of private sector players as some can informally export or hoard it at will,” Mijiga-Mhango warned.

But trade minister, Sosten Gwengwe, said the food balance sheet informs that Malawi has achieved excess maize.

“People need to understand that if there are pockets of hunger in the country it means we will not be importing but we will use maize which is locally found,” Gwengwe said.

Maize is a staple food for Malawi and the highest contributor to inflation’s Consumer Price Index.

In the 2020-21 National Budget, the government allocated K12 billion to NFRA and ADMARC for maize purchases.

This year, maize production has been estimated at 4,581,524 metric tonnes (mt)— compared to 3 785,712mt in the 2019-20 agriculture season.

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2 years ago

Very useless committee… Chimangacho chizitani ku Malawi kuno..? Admarc has enough maiE and has no money to purchase more maize… Go to admarc depots in the north ..plenty maize in Rumphi , chitipa, Mzimba kasungu etc of now Admarc has failed to purchase maize in the north…

Franklin Mlowoka
Franklin Mlowoka
2 years ago

This tendency of shifting goal-posts will end up confusing the masses in Malawi. Soon as the 4 million plus metric tonnes of maize yield was known, a statement by the government was made that the yield excesses would the exported; later we were informed that President Chakwera would be going to South Sudan to receive exported Malawi maize to that country. Lately, we have been advised by the head of state that we should minimise our intake of the staple food (maize) in order to avoid our usual stunted growth. The question is: “What exactly should Malawians adhere to as… Read more »

sir chirwa
2 years ago

baseless directive based on assumptions and ill perspections. trying everything in their power to clip down govt income generation activities.

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