Government says it is committed to responding to the food insecure areas by ensuring that affordable maize is distributed through relief programmes as well as through State produce-trader the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) for those economically stable and that can afford maize.
Presenting ministerial statement on food security situation in Parliament on Wednesday, Minister of Agriculture. Kondwani Nankhumwa also said government has put in place mechanisms to ensure medium term food security.
The following are the measures:
Maize Prices Stabilization- Madam Speaker, the country experienced record high maize prices averaging K300 per kilogram. In some parts the prices recorded were as high as K400. In order to assist the consumers in maize deficit areas, Government released 7,000 metric tonnes of maize from the Strategic Grain Reserves through ADMARC to be sold at a subsidized price in all identified deficit areas.
Procurement of Maize Flour for relief- Government is also procuring 18,000 metric tonnes of maize flour through two commodity exchange platforms and Agricultural Commercialization Project (AGCOM) for humanitarian response. To date, 624.51 metric tonnes has been delivered and uplifting for distribution to the affected households has already started.
Procurement of Maize for SGR and Price Stabilisation-Maize procurement through both ADMARC, NFRA and tender applying resources from AGCOM will continue. This maize will go to ADMARC for price stabilization as well as being stocked in the SGR.
Contracting supply of maize for the SGR- the Ministry has embarked on an exercise of prior contracting farmers, cooperatives and companies that have capacity to produce and supply maize for the SGR. This will protect government in the event that market forces lead to price fluctuations.
Nankhumwa then said the current situation has been exacerbated by collusion of traders which has led to the current food insecurity predicament.
“However, I wish to emphasise and agree with what His Excellency [President Peter Mutharika] repeatedly says that No one will die of hunger in this country. 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.
He then urged the parliamentarians, cooperating partners, non-governmental organizations and all well-wishers to work together and support government in addressing this food insecurity problem.