Mozambique’s port of Nacala has started receiving corn for drought-hit Malawi and is set to get more than 300,000 metric tons of the staple from June.
Nacala, in the southeast African nation’s northern province of Nampula, on April 29 received a shipment of 6,000 tons of corn from the U.S. destined for Malawi, Portos do Norte SA Chief Executive Officer Fernando Couto said by phone. The additional grain will also come from the U.S., he said.
Malawi, a landlocked nation with 17 million people, is facing a second year of falling output after the El Nino weather pattern hurt crops across much of southern Africa, where corn is the staple food.
The country wants to buy 1 million tons of white corn, its Agriculture Ministry said earlier this month. That’s 10 times more than the U.S. government expects it to import for the entire season. Corn prices in Malawi reached a record in February, according to the United Nations.
The port of Nacala has capacity to handle the additional grains, Couto said. The facility is undergoing expansion with provisional storage for the grains needed for inland countries being built, he said. It has also contracted companies that specialize in packaging cereals to handle the gain, which arrives as bulk cargo, he said.
Nacala lies about 1,000 kilometers (622 miles) east of Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe by road, and 850 kilometers by rail.