Malawi to import 80,000 tonnes of maize due to drought

Malawi will import 80,000 tonnes of staple maize due to worsening drought from neighbouring Tanzania and Zambia

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Farmer Salome Banda stands with bags of her maize stacked in a warehouse

Updated Mar 1, 2016

Malawi will import 80,000 tonnes of the staple maize from Tanzania to avert hunger after a drought that affected 2.8 million people in the southern African nation, state officials said on Monday.

Agriculture is Malawi's mainstay, accounting for a third of the economy and providing livelihoods for 80 percent of the population of about 15 million people.

"Based on the agreed export price of $340 per tonne, Malawi will earn about $27 million from selling 80,000 tonnes," Grace Mhango, the association's chairwoman, told Reuters.

The United Nations World Food Program this month extended the harvest period by another month to April because annual harvests will be delayed by the El Nino related drought. The lean period usually ends in March when farmers start harvesting.

The WFP said last week that Malawi needs $38 million to help the most vulnerable during the extended lean period.

But Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe told parliament last week that the 30,000 tonnes from neighboring Zambia and the 50,000 to be imported from Tanzania will be enough to feed the affected population.

TRTWorld, Reuters