Government has raised the minimum maize price from K150 to K180 per kilogramme to avoid scenarios where maize is smuggled to Mozambique and Zambia.
Minister of Agriculture Kondwani Nankhumwa announced the change in prices at a press briefing in Lilongwe today.
Nankhumwa added that the price will be K200 per kilogram if the maize is delivered to ADMARC or National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) depots.
He aklso assured that the country has enough maize stocks for every Malawian and it is food secure.
“I will continue monitoring the procurement process and provide regular reports to ensure that we secure the minimum requirement for national food security for both ADMARC and the Strategic Grain Reserve,” he said.
During the press briefing, Nankhumwa said the results of third round Agriculture Production Estimates Survey (APES) indicate that maize production is at 3,391,924 metric tons, representing 24.7 percent increase when compared to the 2017/18 final round estimate of 2,697,959 metric tons.
Malawi’s Strategic Grain Reserves (SGR) is 217,000 MT and to increase stock ADMARC has been buying maize from smallholder farmers using funds from a commercial loan amounting to MK2.5 billion.
ADMARC was buying the maize at the government set price of MK150 per kilogram but the country has since experienced an increase in maize prices.
“The price rise has been worsened by declining stocks from previous season held by smallholder farmers, which resulted in increased demand for maize across the country.
“This is unlike the previous year, when the country had a carry-over stock of more than 500,000MT and the majority was held by the farmers. These stocks reduced the immediate maize demand on the market for that year hence cushioned any price surge across the country,” Nankhumwa said.
He also noted that the SADC region has been heavily affected in terms of maize production with neighbouring countries such as Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe experiencing a reduction in their production figures.
“This also pushed prices as traders were trying to get hold of the grain hoping to exploit the international markets,” the minister said.
To ensure availability of maize in consistent and adequate amounts throughout the country and that there is enough for stock the country’s preparedness in case of any eventualities, government has raised the minimum prices.
In his statement, Nankhumwa warned traders against exploiting farmers and foiling government’s motive of incentivising smallholder farmers.