Drought and tropical cyclones reduced Malawi’s maize production by 18.9%

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BLANTYRE, July 15 (Reuters) – Malawi’s maize production has fallen 18.9% in the 2021/22 crop year due to a combination of factors including drought, tropical cyclones and supply insufficient in subsidized fertilizers, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Friday.

Production fell to 3.7 million metric tons from 4.6 million metric tons in the 2020/21 agricultural season, according to the third round of the 2021 Agricultural Production Estimates Survey (APES). 22.

“Most areas, particularly in southern Malawi, have experienced a late onset of rains leading to prolonged dry spells,” Gracian Lungu, a ministry spokesman, told Reuters, adding that those who planted maize saw their harvest destroyed by cyclones Ana and Gombe.

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He said there were concerns that the shortage of staple grains could affect the country’s overall food security, but noted that the production of some food crops such as groundnuts, sesame and soybeans had increased over the past of the season.

Prices for maize and other foodstuffs have risen sharply in recent months, sparking protests from consumer groups.

However, maize production still represents a surplus of 0.6 million metric tonnes over Malawi’s national requirement of 3.1 million tonnes.

The country’s year-on-year inflation rose from 15.7% in April to 19.1% in May, the National Statistics Office announced in June.

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Reporting by Frank Phiri Editing by Anait Miridzhanian and Frances Kerry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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