There is a maize crisis brewing in Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwean government is hoping to at least partially solve the problem by importing maize from neighbouring countries. It seems the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe has a pretty well-advanced deal in that regard with Malawi’s Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC). The deal between GMAZ and ADMARC does seem to have at least the tacit approval of Malawi’s president but the country’s opposition has voiced their disapproval of the deal. Malawi itself, they argue, is facing low yields and there is no guarantee that Malawi will not have grain shortages of its own in the near future.

The opposition’s leader wrote a strongly worded letter to the president in which he vowed to take legal action if his concerns over the issue were not considered:

I am writing you this letter to express my deepest annoyance following reports that the public grain marketing company, Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) is proceeding with the sale of 100,000 metric tonnes of maize to Grain Millers of Zimbabwe despite a recent assurance by the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Honourable Sosten Gwengwe, that the maize would not be sold.

Mr President, you may be well aware that many experts, as well as ordinary Malawians, are against this sale of maize by ADMARC precisely because all indications are that many households are likely to face hunger this year due to an anticipated low yield.

… As the Head of State and Government, your primary responsibility is to ensure that Malawians are food secure aside from protecting them from other socio-economic challenges.

Let me, therefore, warn Your Excellency that the opposition shall hold you personally responsible for any loss of life to hunger as a result of the sale of this maize.

Kondwani Nankhumwa leader of Malawi’s opposition writing to the country’s president

Zimbabwe will be praying for a different outcome

Zimbabwe, thanks to a destabilised agricultural sector and poor rains is already grappling with grain shortages. Government meddling in the sector in the form of below-market producer prices has not helped matters. Most farmers have abandoned the grain sector or are unwilling to sell the country’s GMB which grossly underpays farmers. That’s if it pays them at all. Often it delays payments and when the payment comes it is in the form of the unwanted local RTGS dollar even though most inputs are sold in USD.