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Friday, July 13, 2007

Malawi helps out Zimbabwe

Malawi has started selling much-needed maize to Zimbabwe under an export agreement which includes a US$10 million line of credit.

"We have already exported 90,000 metric tonnes (mt) within the past two and a half months," Patrick Kabambe, Malawi's Principal Secretary of Agriculture and Food Security, told IRIN. "We have received some payments for the maize that has been sent".

Malawi's agriculture sector has had a second successive bumper harvest, making an almost complete recovery from a drought in 2005 that left close to five million people in need of food aid.

This year's maize crop has seen a 22 percent increase over last year's: 73 percent higher than the average for the past five years, according to government estimates. On the other end of the scale, Zimbabwe's economy is struggling with an inflation rate officially at about 4,000 percent, food and foreign currency shortages.

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