September 18, 2009 / 12:34 PM / 8 years ago

Malawi to export maize to Kenya, Zimbabwe

LILONGWE (Reuters) - Malawi will export 80,000 tonnes of maize to drought-hit Kenya and to Zimbabwe, the Grain Traders Association of Malawi said on Friday.

“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.

Malawi achieved a maize surplus of 1.3 million tonnes this year, its fourth consecutive surplus since it introduced a fertiliser and seed subsidy programme in 2005.

It harvested 3.7 million tonnes of the grain this year up from 3.2 million last season.

Andrew Daudi, Malawi’s Secretary for Agriculture said the exports would have no impact on local food supplies.

“The exports will in no way affect our food position in the country,” he said.

He could not give details of how many tonnes each country would buy.

Kenya is facing a deepening drought and high food prices, and experts say its output of its staple food maize is likely to be just 15 million 90-kg bags this year, sharply lower than the government’s forecast of 20.4 million bags.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has made an urgent appeal of $230 million to feed an estimated 6 million people in the east African nation hit by hunger because of a drought in some parts of the country.

WFP executive director Josette Sheeran said on Friday that despite worsening hunger, a shortage of donations would soon force the agency to cut monthly ration sizes to millions of hungry Kenyans in need of urgent food assistance.

“WFP has only received 8 percent -- $24 million -- against the $301 million needed to feed 3.8 million people over the next six months,” Sheeran said in a statement.

“The funding shortfall is so severe that we will have to start reducing the size of rations early next month - the hardship people are facing is going from bad to worse.”

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