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The country of Malawi has prohibited the importation of maize from Kenya and Tanzania due to a recent outbreak of disease.
Africa Economy

Outbreak The country of Malawi has prohibited the importation of maize from Kenya and Tanzania due to a recent outbreak of disease.

The country of Malawi, which is currently facing food shortages, has recently prohibited the import of unmilled maize from Kenya and Tanzania. This is due to fears that the maize lethal necrosis disease could devastate the main food source.

The agriculture ministry released a statement declaring a prohibition on the import of maize due to an untreatable disease that can result in a complete loss of yield of up to 100%. The statement specified that imported maize must be processed into flour or grit before being allowed into the country.

According to Henry Kamkwamba, an agriculture specialist at the International Food Policy Research Institute, containing the disease would be challenging if it were to enter the country.

He cited the banana bunchy top virus as a potential hazard.

He mentioned the loss of our traditional banana varieties in the past, which has resulted in Malawi relying on imported bananas now. This is because our import policies have been too lenient.

He mentioned that there are similar worries regarding maize, which is the primary food crop of the nation.

Kamkwamba forecasted that the ban would assist Malawi in preventing the spread of the disease.

For a while now, Kenya and Tanzania have been the main providers of corn for Malawi when there is not enough food.

Malawi is experiencing shortages primarily due to the destruction of thousands of hectares of maize by Cyclone Freddy in March.

The World Food Program and the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee have predicted that 4.4 million individuals, approximately 25% of the population, will experience food scarcity until March 2024.

The president of the Grain Traders Association of Malawi, Grace Mijiga Mhango, stated that she recognizes the seriousness of the maize disease’s effects. However, she believes that prohibiting imports during a time of necessity would likely lead to increased expenses.

She stated that if we do not have sufficient food, it will lead to an unnecessary rise in the price of corn.

According to her, South Africa is the next option for importing maize.

She mentioned that South Africa is far away and lacks sufficient resources. Therefore, it will be costly.

The government of Malawi announced that the prohibition will only be in place for a short time while they consider alternative methods to prevent the spread of maize lethal necrosis disease.