Archbishop of the Blantyre Archdiocese Thomas Msusa has hailed President Peter Mutharika for ordering the army to crackdown on maize smuggling in the country’s exit points.
Msusa was speaking at Ndata Farm in Thyolo during the memorial for former president Bingu wa Mutharika.
Last week, Mutharika ordered the army to tighten security in the borders of the country and impound any vehicles taking maize and tobacco out of the country.
The order followed increasing reports of trucks seen transporting maize out of Malawi despite a government ban on the exportation of maize.
In his speech, Msusa commended Mutharika for the order which he said would help ensure food security in Malawi.
“This year, God has blessed us with good rains and the maize crop looks promising. Yet before people have harvested and before Admarc has opened its markets, we have trucks ferrying maize out of the country. I commend you Mr President for ordering the army to stop this,”he said.
Early this month, police in Karonga seized 32 trucks loaded with maize heading out of the country.
That seizure followed another last month by police in Chitipa of 17 trucks that carried a total of 270 tonnes of maize. None had an export permit.
The police ruled out claims that the maize was destined for private markets within Chitipa and Karonga since the market in the two districts is small for such a quantity.
Media reports say some of the smugglers are politically connected and are transporting the maize to Tanzania, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which are facing food shortage.
Malawi experienced severe food shortage last year due to heavy drought which came on the back of devastating floods. Both natural disasters seriously affected Malawi crop production.
Both maize and tobacco are strategic crops for the country with maize being the staple grain and tobacco being the major forex earner.