Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Dr George Chaponda Wednesday assured the national that there will be enough maize to feed the nation.
Speaking after touring National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) Headquarters in Lilongwe, Chaponda said about 20, 000 tonnes have already been bought.
“NFRA is supposed to buy 40,000 tonnes of maize and half of it has already been bought. We started buying the maize on Monday and am impressed with the way farmers are coming to sell maize to the agency,” he said.
Chaponda also said he was impressed with how offloading of the maize was done, checking the quality, fumigation and how the maize is stored.
He further said maize is been bought within the country, but the market would also be opened outside the country.
“We submitted tenders to buy maize from outside the country and some have already shown interest to sell their maize, but most of the maize would be coming from neighbouring countries,” explained Chaponda.
He then said his ministry is empowering about 285, 000 small holder farmers to be using solar and treadle pumps to produce more maize and sell them to NFRA and Agricultural Development Marketing Cooperation (ADMARC).
According to Chaponda, People’s Republic of China would also help Malawi with rice and the aid is expected to arrive in the country in July and August while maize from Zambia would start coming in the country in September.
He explained that some maize will come from Brazil, World Food Programme (WFP) would also buy its own maize and the United States of America (USA) will support the country with 44 million USD to buy maize.
He advised farmers not to sell all their maize to NFRA, but to keep enough for home consumption.
NFRA Chief Executive Officer, Nasinuku Saukira said government gave them the advance of K10 billion to start buying maize and from Monday June 27.
“We started with 385 tonnes on Monday, Tuesday we improve to 741 tonnes and we are expecting to hit 100 tonnes a day. They are a lot of trucks coming and if this continues then we have the next 40 days to buy,” he explained.
On Wednesday there were more than 68 trucks full of maize to sell to NFRA. About 6.5 million people in the country are expected to face hunger due to dry spell in the Southern Region and floods in the Northern Region.
January 15 the State President, Professor Peter Mutharika declared state of emergency for 15 districts due to dry spell and in April he declared it again as the whole nation was affected.
Source: Malawi News Agency