By Chisomo Kambandanga MANA

Authorities at Nkhata Bay Jetty have withheld about 40 tonnes of maize which a Tanzanian trader, Harris Maulana, imported into Malawi by boat through Lake Malawi.

This follows a recent directive by Ministry of Agriculture, restricting importation of maize grain from Tanzania and Kenya where cases of a devastating disease called Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) have been recorded.

Speaking in an interview on Friday, Senior Deputy Director of Agriculture and Research Services in the Northern Region, Harris Maulana, said the move gears at protecting the country from MLN, which has been registered in the two countries.

“This consignment came through the jetty by boat from Tanzania and we told them that it cannot be sold as grain because people might be tempted to plant it, in the process spreading the disease.

“Although we have not done laboratory tests, Tanzania announced that they have the disease in their country and this is a protective measure,” said Maulana.

He said those in custody are advised against moving any maize grain from the jetty warehouse to Blantyre where it was destined or any district because anything can happen during transportation.

“We have however ordered them to mill the maize into flour or grit right here in Nkhata Bay so that it is not used as seed anywhere in Malawi,” he added.

He then advised traders to abide by the Ministry’s directive for them not to face inconveniences.

Speaking in a seperate interview, Chingula, who hails from Mbeya in Tanzania, said he was not aware of the ban on the importation of any maize grain from his country.

“I thought that this ban was only effective on yellow maize grain. But since government has ordered us to mill the maize into flour or grit, we will abide by the order,” said Chingula.

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