Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Minister, Kondwani Nankhumwa, has conceded that the maize storage facilities does not have enough stocks, falling short with about 197,000 metric tones of the recommended minimum stocks.
Nankhumwa said this when he was presenting the ministerial statement on the national food security situation in Parliament on Friday.
He said the replenishment of Strategic Grain Reserves (SGR) continues to face enormous hurdles ranging from traders hoarding stocks to unnecessary bargaining of prices to make abnormal profits.
Nankhumwa said government is committed to responding to the food insecure areas through ensuring that affordable maize is distributed through relief programmes as well as through ADMARC for those economically stable and that can afford maize.
“I have also been assured by the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development that resources will be made available to support the planned interventions”, he said.
According to Nankhumwa, government has further put in place mechanisms to ensure medium term food security, including procuring 18,000 metric tonnes of maize flour through two commodity exchange platforms and Agricultural Commercialization Project (AGCOM) for humanitarian response.
He urged parliamentarians, co-operating partners, non-governmental organizations and well-wishers to work together and support government in addressing the food insecurity problem.
Nankhumwa, who is also Leader of Government Business in Parliament, noted that the national food balance sheet as at April 1, 2019, shows that the country had a cereal surplus of about 338,630 metric tonnes of which about 84,000 metric tonnes was maize. This is after accounting for food use, seed requirement, minimum Strategic Grain Reserves (SGR) replenishment and feed and industrial requirements in the food balance sheet, he said.
“It is important that this August House should take note that the reported maize surplus is not stock under the wraps of government. Instead, it is the national surplus held by different stakeholders.“
The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) first assessment reported that 1.1 million people were food insecure. The figure was revised to 1.9 million people in the second assessment done in November 2019..