Malawi has enough maize—report

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An assessment of the country’s strategic grain reserves jointly conducted by donors and government has indicated that Malawi has enough maize.

Government has since announced it will release over 75,000 metric tonnes of maize to mainly be used for humanitarian purposes.

The report states that the current stock will last until the next harvest season with over 30 000 metric tonnes of maize to remain at the grain reserves.

Speaking on Tuesday at a press briefing at USAID headquarters in Lilongwe, USAID head of mission Doug Albuckle said the assessment was conducted by independent firm (SGS) on behalf of donors.

Albuckle said the study was commissioned following doubts in 2012 among development partners on the availability of maize in the country.

“USAID as the Chair of the donor Committee on Agriculture and Food Security contracted SGS Malawi Limited to conduct an independent assessment of the quantity and quality of maize in the SGR under custody of National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA),” Albuckle said.

He further announced that due to government’s pleas for support over food insecurity in some parts of the country, Norway and Ireland have pledged to buy maize for the country.

Among the major findings of the report, NFRA has an estimated amount of 86,415.98 metric tonnes of maize presently fit for human consumption.

“An addition 2,910.96 metric tonnes was characterised as dust and chaff, which could have formed through multiple years of storage.

“Through laboratory tests, 401.50 metric tonnes of maize was declared unfit for human consumption due to high aflatoxin levels and has subsequently been removed from the SGR,” reads part of the SGR findings.

NFRA Chief Executive Officer Nasinuku Saukila hailed the report as proving that NRFA was committed to being transparent.

“In the last eight months there were many questions asked about our reserves quality and quantity. There were doubts among our cooperating partners as well.

“We would like to maintain the transparency and accountability, hence we are appealing to development partners to be supporting us in the areas the report found to be deficient,” Saukila said.

He said NRFA will release the 70,000 metric tones to be distributed until the next harvest season, adding some 1.9 million people are in need of urgent food relief.

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