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Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Malawi food management strategy ready October

By Charles Mkula

Lilongwe. — The strategic plan to guide the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) so as to effectively and efficiently manage the country's grain reserves in an effort to reduce food insecurity will rollout next month.

NFRA, Malawi's grain stock holder's chief executive officer Edward Sawerengera said the strategic framework to improve the country's grain storage and disaster preparedness is now ready for implementation after undergoing scrupulous consultations with farmers, NGOs and government agencies involved in food management.

"The strategy charts our way and guides our operations. We know where we are and we know where we want to be in terms of food storage and we are sure this document will guide us there," said Sawerengera.

The Ministry of Agriclture has welcomed the development saying it is in line with government's effort to restructure the agriculture sector.

Controller of Agricultural Services in the Ministry of Agriculture Dr Jeffrey Luhanga said the ministry would like to see NFRA keep enough maize for a longer period of time.

"We believe this plan will ensure good delivery," he said.

Luhanga, however, advised the grain stocker to consider starting a programme to monitor how maize harvest and seeds are kept at household level. 

"This we believe would avert food shortage by saving over 40 percent of the maize harvested every year," said Luhanga.

"NFRA should monitor the situation of domestic storage and advise government on how to combat wasteful practices because the silos will end up with bad maize if the grain is not stored well in the village. Malawi is investing so much in food production and wants to see an end to this wastefulness," he said.

The strategy comes in the wake of rising food prices and scarcity of the grain due to hoarding by traders. It is expected that about 1.5 million people face food shortage due to the unavailability of the grain on the market.

The NFRA has grain storage silos in Lilongwe, in the central region, and in Mangochi, southern region. 

It intends to open others in the northern region city of Mzuzu and Luchenza in the south by January next year

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