Government has directed that Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) maize buying price be revised from K150 per kilogram to K180 per kilogram for all maize delivered to rural markets.
Maize is Malawi’s staple grain that traditionally impacts the country’s economy given its skewed influence in determining inflation rates as it constitutes 45.2 percent in the consumer price index (CPI) that determines the average rise in the cost of living.
According to the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, in addition, government has also directed that if the maize is being delivered to ADMARC depots the price will be K200 per kilogram.
Nankhumwa said at a news conference that ADMARC is buying maize from smallholder farmers using funds from a commercial loan amounting to MK2.5 billion. ADMARC opened its markets across the country from July 10, 2019.
“You are aware government uses its two parastatals namely NFRA (National Food Reserve Agency) and ADMARC (Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation) for purposes of food security in this country. These institutions are key to stabilize maize prices when the commodity is in short supply and to ensure availability of the commodity in consistent and adequate amounts throughout the country at all times.
“Maize being the staple food for most Malawians, it has compelled government to take extra measures that will ensure that the domestic grain is procured to meet the required stocks for the country’s preparedness in case of any eventualities,” Nankhumwa said this at his ministry’s headquarters in Lilongwe on Friday, August 16, 2019.
The directive to increase the maize buying price is to ensure that government has enough stocks for Malawians to access and buy maize at an affordable price, according to the minister.
“I wish to welcome you all to this press briefing on maize procurement by Government to ensure that the country maintains adequate stocks for national food security,” Nankhumwa told journalists, explaining that government was aware of some maize buyers, traders and middlemen who started procuring maize lower than the minimum set government price of K150/kg.
Nankhumwa said government condemns such traders for exploiting farmers and foiling government’s motive of incentivising agricultural production of smallholder farmers.
The minister also explained that the price rise has been worsened by declining stocks from previous season held by smallholder farmers, which resulted in increased demand for maize across the country.
“This is unlike the previous year, when the country had a carry-over stock of more than 500,000MT and the majority was held by the farmers. These stocks reduced the immediate maize demand on the market for that year hence cushioned any price surge across the country.
“I would like to assure the country that we have enough maize stocks for every Malawian and that the country is food secure. I will continue monitoring the procurement process and provide regular reports to ensure that we secure the minimum requirement for national food security for both ADMARC and the Strategic Grain Reserve,” said Nankhumwa.
Gray Nyandule-Phiri, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Dr. Yanira Ntupanyama, Chief Director, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Dr. Alexander Bulirani, Controller of Agriculture Services, Margaret Mauwa, ADMARC CEO and Nasinuku Saukila, NFRA CEO also attended the press briefing.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :