Government tipped on surplus food

A call has gone out to government, stakeholders and farmers in general to work on exploring marketing options for their farm produce.

The plea has been sounded amid estimations that the country is projected to harvest in excess of 4 million metric tonnes of maize against what is required to feed the whole nation.

“This has been the only year which Malawi is expecting to harvest over 4 million metric tonnes of maize against what even this country requires to feed the whole nation.

“All this is being attributed to AIP as well as good rains this country is receiving,” said the agriculture minister Lobin Lowe, during a news conference in Lilongwe.

But according to Director of Research and Outreach at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) Dr. Sam Katengeza, much as the country may have such huge harvest, there are no better marketing strategy in place as to where exactly farmers can sell their commodities.

“We tend to be production focused, we don’t have packages in place on the marketing side, so we lack those strategic marketing strategies as to what happens next when farmers produce, that’s where as a country we don’t have better strategies,” said Dr Katengeza.

Dr Katengeza has since advised state companies like Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) and National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to reserve enough for the nation and explore markets where they can export the surplus.

“I would implore the government through ADMARC and NFRA in particular to be active in the markets, they need to explore the marketing options, like where do the farmers sell they commodities after they have harvested.

“They need to expand the marketing base by identifying the marketing options whereby they can sell the commodities,” Dr Katengeza said.

The food security expert has also appealed to people in the country to avoid food wastage amid such bumper harvest.

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