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