The National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) says it has intensified efforts to restock maize in strategic reserves that have been overdrawn due to Tropical Cyclone Freddy.
Speaking during an interface with the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture on Tuesday, NFRA Acting Chief Executive Officer David Kaputa Loga said to correct the situation, NFRA has accelerated maize procurement through the open market operations.
Loga explained that the institution has supplemented the grain replenishment exercise using national competitive bidding procurement process through agriculture commercialization project funded by World Bank.
Loga said NFRA is also off-taking grain produced by the Prisons Department and the Malawi National
Service through the mega – farms initiative under the support of the Ministry of Finance and the Green Belt Authority.
According to Loga the Agency has been procuring maize on an open market where all willing
suppliers with a minimum of one metric tonnes (MT) of maize are allowed to deliver to any of the agencys depots with the buying price that was initially set at K550 per kilogram and subsequently adjusted upwards to K650 per kg with effect from 1st August 2023.
“We are also using satellite / mobile markets under the open market operations. All these initiatives are there to replenish the stock,” he said.
Loga revealed that NFRA has plans to redeem ADMARC maize that was collateralized by banks in the country.
“Apart from these initiatives,” said Loga. “There is also a drive to grow maize under irrigation using private sector capacity targeting early maturing maize varieties. Exploration of prospects of importing grain from neighboring countries is also underway.”
The acting CEO said using the above modalities and based on a carry over-stock of 60,848.20 MT, a total of 89,879.10 MT has been the maize through-put to date.
“Out of this, a total of 38,135.34 MT has been drawn by DODMA and ADMARC, leaving a balance of 51,751.64MT as the physical balance of SGR stocks and that out of the physical balance of 51,751.64MT, a total of 11,988.13MT is already committed for humanitarian relief and price stabilization, leaving an uncommitted balance of 39,763.52MT for fresh draw-down requests,” he said.
In his remarks Chairman of the Agriculture Committee in Parliament Sameer Suleiman urged NFRA to speed up the exercise of filling up the silos saying as a country 39, 000 metric tonnes is not enough.