Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) has welcomed the order by President Peter Mutharika on Monday lifting the ban on maize export, a change of heart from his earlier stand, but pointed out that it has come “too little too late” after mostly farmer already sold the grain to vendors and middlemen at give away prices.
The move will now benefit the vendors and intermediaries who will now be exporting or selling the maize to Admarc, FUM observed.
FUM president Alfred Kapichira Banda speaking on Times Radio said the lifting of the ban will not be of much benefit to the farmers now.
“The lifting of the ban will not benefit farmers as such but middlemen and some merchants who kept the maize in their warehouses. These are the people who are going to benefit,” he said.
Banda, nonetheless, said the “appreciate” the lifting of the ban.
Agriculture expert Taman Kholo Mule also agreed with FUM that most farmers “have given away their maize at a price below the minimum set price.”
Nkhono-Mvula pointed out that “it did not make sense in the first place to have an export ban” and at the same time have State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) out of the market.
Mutharika said after he attended a joint meeting of the Admarc and National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) senior managers at Admarc head offices in Blantyre on Monday that he has lifted the ban on maize export that government effected early this year to avoid creating a shortage of the staple grain.
He said in 2003 the government of Bakili Muluzi exported maize to Kenya and a year later Malawi was hit hard by food shortages.
Mutharika said the Chief Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhara will be working with Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs on a new Executive order in lifting the earlier order.
The President said: “I am convicted that there is no danger now.”
Mutharika said he wanted the selling of the maize abroad to be allowed when he was sure that there will be enough grain in the country “in the event of another poor harvest.”
He said: “I am now convinced that the country has reached a threshold [0f 234 000 metric tonnes –MT].”
Malawi said in February maize production would rise a third in 2017 to 3.2 million tonnes.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :