Malawi to depend on South Africa and Tanzania for Maize flour

Maize roughage
Maize roughage

Malawi will start importing maize flour from Tanzania and South Africa to feed the 4.4 million people who are facing food shortages in the country.

Commissioner for Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) Charles Kalemba disclosed this to journalists in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, on the sidelines of President Lazarus Chakwera’s meeting with the World Food Programme (WFP) Regional Director for Southern Africa Bureau, Menghestab Haile, at the president’s office.

Kalemba’s remarks cleared the controversy that was caused by Malawi’s suspension of maize import from Tanzania and Kenya over “devastating” Maize Lethal Necrosis, a disease that researchers in Malawi said could completely wipe out the staple crop if unchecked.

Recently, Malawian media reports indicated that the World Bank had committed 20 Million U.S. dollars to purchasing of maize from Tanzania to support the needy Malawians, but the reports said the World Bank was stuck with the importation ban.

But the DoDMA commissioner said it had been resolved that Malawi should import maize flour from Tanzania and not the staple food in its grain form.

He said Malawi government is working with WFP and the World Bank to have the maize flour imported into Malawi by weekend.

“We are getting maize flour from Tanzania and South Africa. The Ministry of Agriculture did not say we cannot get maize from Tanzania. The issue is about full grain maize that can be planted. But getting maize for food in a form of flour is okay,” Kalemba said.

“This weekend, or next week, we should start receiving maize flour from Tanzania and South Africa — we will get the necessary food that the World Bank has supported us with,” he added.

Food insecurity in Malawi has escalated with the falling of the country’s currency, Kwacha, by 44 percent early November and. A 50-kg bag of maize, which was at 12,000 Malawian Kwacha (about 7.13 U.S. dollars) this time last year, is now between 50,000 and 60,000 Malawian Kwacha (about 29.71 and 35.66 U.S. dollars).

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