Ministry yet to start issuing maize export licences

Maize exporters will have to wait a little longer before they start selling their maize to outside markets as government is yet to finalise maize export guidelines, Business News has learnt.

On October 30 2017, President Peter Mutharika ordered the immediate lifting of the maize export ban that government had effected early this year to avoid creating a shortage of the staple grain, two weeks after farmers in the country protested its existence.

In an interview on Wednesday, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism spokesperson Wiskes Nkombezi said the ministry is currently working on guidelines to avoid chaos in the domestic maize market.

“It should be clear that everyone is entitled to use this opportunity so long as it makes economic sense for them but we are mainly targeting medium and large scale farmers. We are developing guidelines, which should be made available to the public soon, so that the domestic market is not deprived of the staple grain and that maize stock is not depleted,” he said.

Nkombezi said while it is the exporter’s mandate to identify markets, the most probable market would be in East Africa, which has a maize deficit, unlike our neighbours South Africa and Zambia, who recorded surpluses.

Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) president Alfred Kapichira Banda is on record as having said the lifting of the ban will not be of much benefit to the farmers themselves.

This year, Malawi produced more than 30 percent surplus in maize owing to good climatic conditions after two successive years of low output due to drought and floods.

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