Large quantities of Irish potatoes from bordering Tanzania are being imported to Malawi through border posts such as Songwe in Karonga and Ilomba in Chitipa, a development that is against the Buy- Malawian Campaign, the country is currently promoting.
Spot checks around the border posts of Songwe and Ilomba in Karonga and Chitipa respectively, indicate that business tycoons from the country are importing large quantities of Tanzanian Irish potatoes.
This development works against the country’s campaign that promotes the buying of locally produced goods.
Experts have since warned that in addition to killing the Buy-Malawian promotion, the foreign produce could bring crop infections into the country if not cross-checked.
District Agricultural Development Officer (DADO) for Karonga, Raphael Mkisi, conceded that most of the irish potatoes and bananas consumed by people in Karonga are from Tanzania.
“Our finding also revealed that people in Karonga are consuming more Irish potatoes and bananas from Tanzania.
“Malawi can be at risk of crop infections if we do not cross-check the produce such as those coming from outside,’’ he said.
Mkisi said the imported crop produce are consumed in Chitipa, Karonga and some parts of Mzuzu City.
Some of the potato sellers supported the business, arguing that Chitipa, Karonga and Mzuzu are far away from districts that produce potatoes in the country.
A businessman, Aaron Mwafongo, added that potatoes from Tanzania are very cheap to buy as compared to those from Malawi.
This development is not going well with the Ministry of Industry and Trade which believes that Malawi produces a lot of Irish Potatoes.
Spokesperson for the Ministry, Wikes Mkombezi, said business gurus across the borders should understand the importance of promoting their own products, saying it is vital for the country’s economy.
‘‘As a ministry, we cannot literally burn the importation of products from outside Malawi, but what I can say is to ask my fellow Malawians to be patriotic enough to their country because buying goods from within the country will change our economy.
‘‘As of Irish potatoes, I believe we have a large supply of the produce in Mzimba, Ntcheu and Dedza,” he pointed out.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :