(Bloomberg) -- Malawi has given traders an ultimatum to sell their corn to the government within two weeks, but also provided an incentive in the form of a price rise.

Traders must sell corn to the Agriculture Development and Marketing Corp. or the National Food Reserve Agency within two weeks or the government will be forced to import the staple, the Ministry of Agriculture said in an e-mailed statement.

To entice traders, the ministry has increased the price of corn to 230 kwacha ($0.31) per kilogram from 150 kwacha, it said.

The southern African nation’s strategic grain reserves have dropped to 25,000 metric tons from 125,000 tons, which is likely to trigger price increases and threaten food security, privately owned MIJ Radio reported, citing NFRA Chief Executive Officer Nasinuku Saukira.

To contact the reporter on this story: Frank Jomo in Blantyre at fjomo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alastair Reed at areed12@bloomberg.net, Jacqueline Mackenzie, Marion Dakers

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