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June 09, 2009

Malawi records 1.2 million tonne maize surplus

by Sam Banda Junior

Malawi recorded a maize surplus of 1.2 million metric tonnes from a gross national harvest of 3.6 million metric tonnes for the 2008/2009 harvest. The country's national food requirement is 2.4 million metric tonnes per annum.

The country’s Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Andrew Daudi, was quoted by a local paper, Sunday Times, as appealing to the people to manage the maize properly to avoid food shortages.

"We have recorded a surplus of 1.2 million tonnes this year and we plan to double this next year because Malawi has good soils and the subsidy programme will be more targeted," Daudi said.

The surplus would be Malawi’s third consecutive since the fertilizer subsidy programme was introduced by the Mutharika administration.

Under the programme poor farmers access fertilizer and seeds by using coupons which they get from the government.

The fertilizer subsidy programme won the country’s president awards for maintaining food security.

Through the programme other African countries have also visited Malawi to learn a few tricks.

In the 2008/2009 budget the country is said to have allocated more money for the fertilizer subsidy programme.

The southern African country’s maize season runs from November to April. Malawi which depends on agriculture for its economic boost is a net food exporter.

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