Blantyre, Malawi – The National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) has announced its efforts to bolster the national strategic grain reserve, aiming to reach a substantial quantity of one hundred thousand and five hundred metric tons this year. With recent disbursements from the Ministry of Agriculture and support from the World Bank, the NFRA has made significant strides in maize procurement.
Over the past two weeks, following a disbursement of six billion Kwacha from the Ministry of Agriculture, the NFRA has successfully acquired one thousand and eight point four metric tons of maize. This procurement is part of the agency’s projected goal of eleven thousand metric tons. Currently, the NFRA holds approximately fifty-seven thousand five hundred metric tons of maize. However, with ongoing procurement efforts, an additional twenty-two thousand metric tons are expected to be obtained, contingent on a twelve billion kwacha funding allocation from the government.
Denis Kalekeni, the Board Chairperson of NFRA, expressed optimism regarding the maize procurement process. He revealed that the World Bank has allocated 10 million United States dollars to secure an additional twenty-one thousand metric tons of maize. Kalekeni emphasized that these efforts are crucial to ensure the strategic grain reserve holds sufficient maize stocks for the nation.
Furthermore, Kalekeni highlighted the significance of the projected quantity of one hundred thousand five hundred metric tons. He stated that based on historical draw-down statistics of the strategic grain reserve, this quantity should adequately support humanitarian and emergency relief programs. It will also contribute to stabilizing maize prices through the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC).
To facilitate the procurement process, the NFRA initiated the purchase of maize from the market on May 29, 2023. The agency is following a first-come, first-served basis until the allocated funding is depleted. The fixed price for maize stands at K550 per kilogram.
As the NFRA continues its maize procurement efforts, it is expected that the increased stockpile of maize will enhance food security in the country and mitigate price fluctuations. The agency’s dedication, coupled with financial support from both the government and international institutions like the World Bank, is a testament to their commitment to addressing the nation’s food reserve needs.