Minister of Agriculture Joseph Mwanamvekha has likened President Peter Mutharika’s decision to ban maize export in favour of storing more maize to the wisdom Joseph showed in Egypt.
Making a ministerial statement on the 2017/18 agricultural season in Parliament on Monday, Mwanamvekha praised Mutharika’s foresightedness in directing that out of the bumper harvest of last year Malawi should first fill up its food reserves before exporting any surpluses.
He added that Mutharika endured criticisms, insults, and ridicule due to the decision as some people “decided to make cheap politics out of such a matter of serious national importance.”
“Today, the President has been vindicated. All those that doubted the depth and quality of the leadership can now agree with me that the President had a point on this matter.
“God has also been vindicated in this, as he gave us a leader who is visionary in all respects. If we accepted the proposals of the critics of government, we would have exported all the maize, and now, the challenge could have been to look for all that maize and bring it back into the country at a very high cost,” he said.
The minister added that Mutharika’s decision reminds him of the story of Joseph who advised the Pharaoh to prepare for an impending famine when Egypt was also in periods of plenty and dry spells.
“Mr. Speaker, Sir, the bible says wisdom is much better than empty noise and I shall be borrowing from this wisdom, on how as a country, we can better manage our strategic grain reserves going forward,” Mwanamvekha said.
Government banned the export of maize despite the bumper harvest last year and only lifted the ban in October.
According to Mwanamvekha, scientists in the Southern African region had indicated that some parts of Malawi would likely get below normal rains this year hence government’s insistence to preserve the grain to avoid the usual panic and logistical challenges of importing the grain.