The government of Malawi has increased the price of maize in Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) depots.
Ministry of Agriculture Principal Secretary Sandram Maweru has confirmed the hike and said the charges have jumped from K205 to K300 per kilogram. This means a 50kg bag of maize will be going at K15,000, an expensive price for many Malawians who are already struggling due a rise in prices of other basic commodities.
The Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Gracian Lungu defended the increase, arguing ADMARC would be making losses if the price remained at K200 per kilogram. According to Lungu, the state-owned company needs to be selling maize at a profit. He further affirmed that the ministry consulted with the Ministry of Finance before increasing the price. Lungu also said that authorities will make sure that the maize is being sold to households and not in bulk vendors.
Maize production in Malawi
In 2020, maize production for Malawi was 3,780 thousand tonnes. Though Malawi maize production fluctuated substantially in recent years, it tended to increase through 1971 – 2020 period ending at 3,780 thousand tonnes in 2020.
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The agriculture sector plays a pivotal role in Malawi’s socioeconomic well being and poverty alleviation. It contributes to as much as 27% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs 85% of the population. Over 90% of the agriculture sector consists of smallholder farmers. Rainfed agriculture is widespread in Malawi, with less than 5% of farmers using irrigation.
Maize (zea mays L) is the nation’s staple and most important food crop. Maize is by far the most widely grown crop in the country and accounts for as much as 80% of the cultivated land. It is thought that the country’s food security is defined by maize harvests and access to maize. Up to 59% of Malawi’s land is used for cultivation.