Government has assured Malawians that the country has enough maize in stock both for humanitarian aid and commercial purposes, reiterating that no-one would die of hunger in the country.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Joseph Mwanamvekha gave the assurance during the opening of the 15th National Agriculture Fair in the Commercial City of Blantyre on Wednesday.
Mwanamvekha said government through the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) and the National Food Reserve Agency have enough maize in their stocks.
He said despite fears of poor crop production in the 2017/18 growing season, whereby many parts were heavily hit by dry spells and fall army worms, Malawians should not panic since the country has enough grain in its reserves.
“There were fears this year because of the adverse climatic conditions which affected crop production in most parts of the country coupled with drought and fall army worm attacks,” he observed.
“But as government, we can assure you that no-one will die of hunger since we have enough maize for everybody,” he added. “As long as the DPP-led Government is in power, we will ensure that that no-one dies of hunger,” Mwanamvekha assured.
The minister also announced that ADMARC markets would be opened from next week on Monday September 17 to enable people with lean stocks access the maize.
Mwanamvekha said this year’s National Agriculture Fair has been organized to achieve three objectives namely; exposing producers to new developments in technologies, value addition, marketing and financial arrangements.
“Another objective is to promote partnerships and linkages among various business players in the sector and sharing ideas and experiences in agricultural financing, value addition and marketing.
“We are doing this to ensure the role of farmers in ensuring that issues of finance, value addition and markets for agricultural produce and products are seriously considered,” he pointed out.
Mwanamvekha, therefore, said the 15th National Agriculture Fair would once again provide an ideal forum for agricultural value chain players to interact and strike business deals.
“This will promote agricultural commercialization, industrialization and facilitate linkages among various agricultural value chain players. In addition, it is envisaged that players in the sector will discuss the best ways,” he said.
“In line with this year’s theme, Your Excellency, all exhibitors have been encouraged to plan well on the agricultural activities. All these strategic documents are responding to your vision on agricultural sector development in Malawi,” Mwanamvekha emphasised.
The National Agriculture Fair is an annual public event organized by Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development.
This year’s fair which has attracted 126 exhibitors is being held under the theme: ‘Access to finance, value addition and markets: key to agro-based industrialization.’