Malawi government, through the Ministry of Trade, has defended its decision to export maize, claiming the move will not affect food security of the country.
Government has since started issuing maize export licences to allow the economy off-take excess stocks of maize from last year's harvest for export and to create storage for this year's harvest.
Secretary for Trade, Christina Zakeyo, claims that the exportation of maize will not affect the country's food situation, thanks to a projected bumper maize harvest for 2020/2021 farming season following the successful implementation of the Affordable Input Programme (AIP).
Zakeyo, therefore said the maize export licences will only be issued to exporters with proof of verifiable maize stocks from the previous agricultural season. "The licences to be granted will have a validity of three months from the date of issue.
"The exporter will be required to undertake a commitment to inform the Ministry about the export proceeds received after 180 days from the date of export," said Zakeyo. Under the Control of Goods Act of 2018, maize is a controlled commodity and the export of which requires a licence.
Traders intending to export maize will have to submit applications for the licence to the Ministry with the following supporting information--physical address of the business and warehouse where the maize is stocked; business registration certificate or certificate of incorporation; business residence permit or permanent resident permit for non-Malawians; identification document and a letter of authority to export from the Ministry of Agriculture stating source of maize, quantity and destination country.
In February this year, Minister of Agriculture, Lobin Lowe disclosed that this year's maize harvest projection is at 4 million metric tones. Lowe equally attributed this to AIP as well as good rains this country is receiving.
He also said government has already sourced 150 thousand metric tons of fertilizer for the next AIP. According to him, government wants to roll out the program for the 2021/22 farming season in good time.
Lowe claimed that currently the ministry is ironing out problems that affected the program in the 2020/2021 rainy season.