Malawi to export 1.1 million metric tons of maize
By Fiona Manda
The Ministry of Agriculture says the county will export a surplus of 1.1 million metric tons of maize from the 2020/2021 farming season.
The ministry’s Public Relations Officer, Gracian Lungu told Malawi News Agency on Thursday that the decision was arrived at after a crop inspection report projected the bumper yield this year.
The first round of production estimate shows that Malawi is expected to produce 4.4 million MT of maize which is 29 per cent above the estimated national need of 3.4 million MT.
“The country is indeed expected to have bumper produce this year, and there is surplus of maize that has been set to be sold outside the country.
“However, everyone who wants to export the maize should get a license from the Ministry of Trade as an overseer of external trade,” Lungu said.
Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) Chief Executive Officer, Jacob Nyirongo said it was good that government intends to allow exportation of excess maize on the market but asked it for ring-fenced contracts.
He said the development will allow farmers to have access to better prices on international market.
“We are glad of this development. Nevertheless, government must allow farmers and exporters to produce maize with ring-fenced export contracts in order to provide long term certainty on maize exports other than depending on seasonal export controls,” Nyirongo said.
M’mbelwa District Council Director of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, Ezra Mbendera, has since urged farmers to do family budgeting so that they set aside enough food for every member in the family before they start selling their farm produce.
“An adult needs 300kg of maize per year. This should help farmers to calculate their food stock.
“Farmers also need to safeguard their stored maize against post-harvest losses by applying recommended storage pesticides or using other technologies to make sure that they don’t starve,” Mbendera said.
He advised farmers to avoid unscrupulous vendors who do not follow minimum farm gate prices introduced by Malawi Government but should sell their produce to licensed buyers.
In 2019/2020 farming season, Malawi produced 3.6 million MT of maize up from 3.3 MT in 2028/2029.