President Peter Mutharika has directed the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) to increase the price of maize from the current price of K5 500 per 50 kilogramme (kg) bag to K12 500 representing an increase of 127 percent.
The President announced the new maize price at the Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe when he held a press briefing following his return from the United States of America (USA).
Mutharika said: “I have instructed that Admarc should be selling the maize at K250 per kilogramme, the same price they were buying,”
The maize price increase is probably a response to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) advice in the September review mission report that urged government to be careful on subsidising maize in the country.
The IMF report warned: “Maize subsidies, should they arise, would need to be carefully targeted to the most vulnerable segments of the population and managed in a cost-effective way that does not strain public finances further and worsen public debt, which has now risen from 40 percent of gross domestic product [GDP] in 2012 to 58 percent of GDP in 2016.”
Articulating the food situation in the country, Mutharika said since the launch of the Food Insecurity Plan three months ago, the country was making progress on food availability.
He said the country has assurances of 274 106 metric tonnes (MT) of cereals against the estimated need 262 500 MT for humanitarian food, adding that NFRA has current stock of more than 90 000 MT of maize.
He also said the country has $7 .5 million (K5.4 billion) from the World Bank, which will assist government procure 22 000 MT while United States Aid Agency (USAid) has given Malawi 17 775 MT of sorghum.
“I wish to assure all Malawians that we have enough food, both for humanitarian and commercial purposes. I am pleased to state that we have stocked enough maize for humanitarian needs. We are covered,” he said.
Mutharika then announced that 6.5 million people will be getting 50kg of maize per month per household.
“With $23 million [K16.7 billion] received from the World Bank, World Food Programme [WFP] will procure 70 000 MT. Peoples Republic of China has given us 6 500 MT of rice. WFP will be procuring 74 000 MT of maize from the international market and USAid will also provide 14 735 MT to WFP for humanitarian relief,” he said.
But the President said the country has gaps on pulses, however, the US government and others were going to assist.
Mutharika then said: “Admarc should stock 400 000 MT of maize. As we speak, there is already over 100 000 MT in Admarc markets, ready to be sold.
“This means Admarc will be procuring extra 300 000 MT of maize. They have already engaged Zambia, Mexico, Brazil and Romania for the same. And Admarc will open over 1 300 markets across the country. Some markets will open as soon as next week.”
The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development’s Second Round Agriculture Production Estimate Survey indicated that the country produced 2 431 313 MT of maize in 2015/16 agriculture season and the MVAC forecast for the April 2016 to March 2017 consumption period, shows that 6. 5 million people will not be able to meet their annual food requirement estimated at 375 393 metric of maize. n