Malawi has banned maize exports in an effort to fortify its food reserves in light of a damaging drought. Exacerbating the situation is an outbreak of fall armyworm.
This, as its neighbour Zambia recorded an increase in maize prices due to scanty supply. The ban in Malawi comes barely 3 months after a 2-year moratorium on maize exports was lifted, following the bumper 2016/’17 harvest.
Also read: Dry conditions prevail in Southern Africa
“We have to conserve our national grain reserves,” said Malawian Agriculture Minister, Joseph Mwanamveka.
Nearly 2 million of Malawians were at risk of food shortages as result of drought and armyworms, says Agriculture Minister, Joseph Mwanamveka.
Also read: Fall armyworm in Malawi declared a disaster
The planting season is underway, with light rains recorded in the central and southern regions. Weather forecasts point to a slightly higher probability of below-normal rains this year.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has, however, cautioned that this does not imply insufficient rainfall for normal crop development, as average rainfall volumes for the season are higher than the requirements for the maize crop.
Meanwhile, the price of maize in Zambia has gone up to as much as K90/50kg bag from a low of K60 as the commodity becomes scarce.
“We are finding it hard to access maize. This naturally drives up prices. This will lead to knock-on effect on consumer prices,” says President of the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ), Andrew Chintala.