Malawi has potential to realize over K61 billion from maize exports, translating into increased net wealth by one percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), agricultural and commodity exchange experts have said.
The experts made the sentiments on Thursday evening during a panel discussion the National Planning Commission (NPC) organization with technical support from the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) and the Copenhagen Consensus Centre (CCC).
The discussion drew high level participants such as the Principal Secretary for Trade, Christina Chatima, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Simplex Chithyola Banda, Agricultural Commercialization Project Ted Nankhumwa, Agriculture Commodity Exchange (ACE) Chief Executive Officer for Africa, Kristian Moller, Head of Operations at the AHL Group plc, Davis Manyenje, and Pyxus Agriculture Malawi Limited Chief Executive Officer Ronald Ngwira.
In his contribution, Ngwira said there is high potential from the exportation of maize and groundnuts.
However, he asked the government to seal policy and regulatory loopholes, which he said are frustrating the industry.
On the other hand, Manyenje said Malawi is losing over K370 billion annually to unregulated exportation of legume crops.
The panel came at the back of a new research paper released on Thursday by the Malawi Priorities Project, which shows that lifting the maize export ban would have lasting economic and social benefits.
The study was conducted by Malawi Priorities, a research-based collaborative project, which NPC is implementing with technical support from AFIDEP and CCC.
The findings of the study reveal that removing the ban will raise maize prices towards the price paid in neighbouring countries benefiting all Malawian maize farmers.
“Removal of the ban would incentivize maize production, highly commercialize the crop and boost exports. And if the maize is processed before exporting, the value is even much higher; hence, the need for value addition before exporting,” reads part of the report.
Currently, Malawi relies on tobacco as her major foreign currency earner, which make up 80 percent of total exports necessitating the need to diversify into other high-value commodities.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :