Agriculture and Irrigation minister Lobin Lowe has assured Malawians not to panic about food shortage in the country as there is enough food reserves to feed the South-eastern impoverished nation.
The ministry says the updated Malawi food balance sheet indicate that Malawi has 1,693,997 Metric tonnes (MT) of maize.
Speaking during a press briefing in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe Monday 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 metric tonnes of maize surplus and he updated national Food Balance Sheet (FBS) compilation as of 31st December 2021 shows that the country has a total supply of 1,693,997 metric tonnes.
“The total maize requirement for the three months, from annually to March 2022, is projected at 861, 868 metric tonnes.”
The minister said that the reported maize surplus is not only the stock under the custody of government; 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, the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) and ADMARC Limited, stood at 265,253 metric tonnes as of December 31, 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 metric tonnes 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.
Lowe 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.
“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.
Chiphiko assured Malawians not to worry about food shortage as they the country has food surplus in stock.