Barely a day before Admarc opens its markets tomorrow to start maize sales, the Ministry of Agriculture is yet to release prices for the staple grain, but sources have indicated that consumers could be paying K600 per kilogramme (kg).
Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale last week told Parliament that 12 640 metric tonnes (MT) of the staple grain will be sold by State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) during the first phase starting tomorrow with the Southern Region getting 10 170MT will be for the South, 1 320MT for Central Region and the North getting the remainder.
Maize prices continue to rise on the
market amid shortages
The minister did not respond to The Nation queries yesterday to clarify on the price while Admarc general manager Daniel Makata said they were waiting for Capital Hill on the same.
But sources privy to the matter, said government has decided to sell the grain at K600 per kilogramme (kg) against a K660 per kg proposal from a technical committee.
Earlier, the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture proposed a price of K500 or below per kg.
Makata said Admarc was ready for the exercise and that the distribution of maize from National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to Admarc depots will start today.
Said maize will be released: Kawale
He said: “In terms of readiness in as far as Admarc is concerned, we are ready. Our markets are ready and the staff is also ready. On pricing, we are still waiting from the Ministry of Agriculture to give us that and once that is done, the ministry and ourselves should be able to announce the price.
“We have communication from the ministry for us to uplift 12 640MT of maize from NFRA which we should start by tomorrow [today, Wednesday] and send it to the various markets. We should start by Wednesday so that by Thursday most of the markets should have maize.”
He said NFRA has maize stocks across the country and the arrangement is for Admarc to collect from the nearest point.
“Admarc is doing the transport logistics with financial support from the Ministry of Agriculture. That funding has already come today [Tuesday],” said Makata.
How maize will be distributed
Makata: We are ready
Based on the distribution plan from the Ministry of Agriculture which we have seen, in the Northern Region, Karonga will get 600MT, Nkhata Bay 300MT, Likoma Island 130MT and Chizumulu Island 120 MT.
In the Central Region, only Salima and Nkhotakota will get 780MT and 540MT, respectively, during the first phase, according to the schedule.
In the Southern Region, Chikwawa will get 1320MT followed by Zomba 1080MT while Mangochi, Machinga and Ntcheu, included as part of the Eastern Region, will get 810MT each.
The schedule also shows that Thyolo will get 900MT, Blantyre 720MT, Phalombe 630MT while Nsanje and Balaka will receive 540MT each.
Other districts making the list are Mulanje with an allocation of 450MT, Chiradzulu 360MT, Mwanza 120MT and Neno 300MT. Limbe Admarc Depot in Blantyre has been allocated 250MT mostly to cater for the urban population.
Dodma relief maize October
In response to the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) annual food security assessment results showing that about 4.4 million people face hunger in the 2023/24 consumption period, representing 22 percent of the country’s projected population of 19.6 million, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) has indicated that it will start distributing relief maize from October.
In an interview yesterday, Dodma spokesperson Chipiliro Khamula said they are currently finalising the development of the 2023/24 Lean Season Food Insecurity Response scheduled to be ready by the end of August.
He said: “The department has planned to start providing assistance under the Mvac Humanitarian Response Plan from October as per the recommendation by Mvac. The department is targeting 4.4 million people.
“This follows the Mvac report which indicated that 4.4 million people will be food-insecure in 28 districts and four cities of the country in the 2023/24 consumption year, with deficits [months requiring assistance], ranging from two to six months.”
Khamula said Dodma will require 219 023MT of maize to respond to the food requirements, but the amount may be reduced if other partners provide cash transfers to targeted beneficiaries.
NFRA is targeting to stock 100 500MT of maize for the country to be able to handle Humanitarian and Emergency Relief programmes through Dodma as well as price stabilisation requirements through Admarc.