President Joyce Banda has said the Strategic Grain Reserves managed by the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) and the country will be depleted next year if drought is experienced again.
Speaking at a press conference in Lilongwe on Sunday, Banda divulged what NFRA has been hiding that the reserves would not have enough maize by December this year.
She said the reserves had 107,000MT of maize before 25,000MT was given to World Food Programme as government's contribution to the targeted food distribution exercise which started in January this year.
About 15,000MT has been given to government owned grain trader Admarc to replenish its markets for people who have no maize but can afford to buy.
This December, 50,000MT will be taken out for the second phase of the targeted food distribution exercise which starts this December.
This means there will only be 17,000MT in the SGRs by the end of December after 50,000MT is withdrawn for humanitarian purposes minus the 13,000MT maize worth US$2.4 million which WFP is expected to replenish in the reserves.
She added that she was surprised to learn that maize that WFP distributes to people comes from the Strategic Reserves.
"These are my concerns, that we do not have enough maize for the two million people affected by hunger and that the balance of maize in the SGRs is too inadequate that if we have a drought again it means the reserves are depleted," Banda said.
But the figure which Banda touted is in sharp contrast with the October 2012 Famine Early Warning System Network (Fewsnet) report which indicated that the SGRs had 145,000MT after drawing 25,000MT.
The report also indicated that 'an attempt to restock Admarc markets through an August SGR non-humanitarian draw down was not approved by the government.'
According to Banda, this has been eventually approved as 15,000MT going to Admarc.