Linda Kwanjana – Malawi Exclusive
Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Lobin Lowe has assured Malawians not to pannick since the updated Malawi food balance sheet indicate that Malawi has 1,693,997 Metric tonnes (MT) of maize.
Speaking during a press briefing in Lilongwe Lowe said Malawi maize requirement for the next three months (January to March) is projected at 861 868 Metric tonnes of maize.
Lowe said as a country there is 915 998 MT maize surplus.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the updated national Food Balance Sheet (FBS) compilation as of 31st December 2021 shows that the country has a total supply of 1,693,997 MT, and the total
maize requirement for the 3 months (January to March 2022) is projected at 861 868 MT.” Said Lowe.
Lowe said that the reported maize surplus is not stock under the custody of government only; it also comprises of stocks held by different stakeholders including farmers and private traders.
“Out of this estimated maize surplus, official maize stocks held by government institutions (National Food Reserve Agency -NFRA and ADMARC Limited) stood at 265,253 metric tons as of 31st December, 2021.”
Lowe said the food balance sheet projection, the country remains stable in terms of maize availability.
“This is further supported by the prevailing market prices which have remained stable during the past three months and even as the country is in the lean period during which so far ADMARC sales stand at only 37 MT since opening their selling season.” He said.
On maize price Lowe said the Ministry of Agriculture’s maize price surveillance system shows the current maize national
average price for the month of December 2021 was MK152.99 per kilogram as compared to MK200 per kilogram in December 2020.
He said this shows that the prices
remain stable over the period when demand for maize traditionally increases.
On the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) 2021 Annual Assessment report which projected over 1.6 million to be food insecure during the 2021/2022 consumption year, Lowe said , Government has already released about 17,000 metric tons of maize to be distributed to the affected households as humanitarian food while on the
other hand, ADMARC markets are open for those who need to access the affordable maize.
Meanwhile , Lowe has assured Malawians that Malawi is food secure.
“In my conclusion I would like to assure the country that we have enough maize stocks for every Malawian and that the country is food secure.” Said Lowe.
In his remarks ADMARC Chief Executive Officer Rhino Chiphiko said the maize available at the moment is within the area where they were bought.
He assured Malawians that they should not pannick.