Imported irish potatoes killing  ‘Buy-Malawian’ campaign

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.

large quantities of irish potates at the border – pic by Bishop Witmo

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.

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3 thoughts on “Imported irish potatoes killing  ‘Buy-Malawian’ campaign”

  1. Chamwaka Mr says:

    Why is every thing that is produced in Malawi high relative to counterparts from neighboring countries? We seem to be inefficient producers. Burning imports will just reward this inefficiency. Let foreign good flow into the country to make our producers jack up, look for innovative way to produce good quality products and reasonable prices.

  2. Shelix Munthali says:

    Buy Malawi clearly emphasizes on good quality and competitive pricing. if We lose sight of that then our farmers won’t stand the competition that is out there; and banning importation is no solution either!

  3. Shelix Munthali says:

    While it is good to be patriotic, let us look at this matter soberly; Tanzanian potatoes land in Malawi much cheaper than the local ones. a fundamental question that we need to address as a country is why is the local commodity more expensive? Are our farmers over-pricing? Is the cost of production too high? Are yield too low, forcing farmers to make ends meet by hiking the pricing?

    It may or may not be a combination of the issues highlighted above, but we won’t solve problems by using patriotism to solve some of these problems.

    Should I buy local potatoes even if they are expensive simply to be seen to be patriotic? I don’t think so!

    We can resolve these problems by considering reasons behind the high cost of locally produced potatoes

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