Malawi blames maize shortage on illegal exports

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Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Peter Mwanza says illegal exports of maize by unlicensed foreign traders have largely resulted into a huge maize deficit in the country.

Speaking Wednesday at a press briefing in the capital Lilongwe, Mwanza said over 140,000 metric tonnes of maize from the previous harvest, which recorded a surplus of 550,000 metric tonnes, have already been smuggled to neighbouring countries by unlicensed foreign traders who, he claimed, use unchartered routes.

He, therefore, warned that the situation could get worse if the foreign traders aren’t flashed out of the system.

“It is very bad indeed. That is why the government is concerned. The situation at the moment is critical. Admarc is still distributing maize to the market.

“This is going to be strengthened by some imports from Chipata, Zambia. This is to supplement what is remaining in the country. After that, the situation should normalise,” said Mwanza.

The minister’s confirmation follows revelation that over 30,000 metric tonnes of maize went bad in the country’s national storage facilities.

The maize is said to have gone bad after it was soaked in rain water at the leaking storage facilities at Kanengo in Lilongwe.

Pres. Joyce Banda recently told Malawians that the country doesn’t have enough maize, owing to last year’s dry spell that hit some parts of the country.

The shortage consequently led to soaring maize prices as there was more demand and sellers responded by adjusting prices upwards.

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