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Malawi Benefitting from Maize Surplus

2011 August 26

Malawi has registered a national surplus in maize, the staple cereal, of 1.2 million metric tons (MT) over the 2010-2011 agriculture season. It is therefore expected that maize availability at the national level will exceed the country's annual demand for staple foods of close to 2 million metric tons.  The remainder of foods needed to achieve food security come from the other five food groups (vegetables, fruits, legumes, animals, and fats) to ensure that the country has both the calories and nutrients needed for a healthy life.

According to FEWS NET reports, the government plans to increase the maize stock in its National Food Reserve Agency granaries from the carryover of more than 160,000 MT to 210,000 MT by the end of September, with funding of more than MWK 1 billion.

This surplus in domestic maize production—largely attributed to good climate, technology, and the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP)—makes Malawi a net exporter of maize to neighboring countries.

However, some areas of the country are likely to experience food insecurity. The Shire Valley districts of Chikhwawa and Nsanje are especially vulnerable due to droughts, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification reports.

Moreover there is still a need to correlate the improved maize production with the nutrition and health status of the country’s population of 14 million. The upcoming conference seeks to solicit evidence to guide policies towards enhancing agriculture’s responsiveness to nutrition and health in Malawi.

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