Consumers queue for sugar in Zomba

Business in the eastern city of Zomba was interrupted on Tuesday, around 4:00pm when information reached the people that sugar, a commodity that is slowly becoming scarce on the market, was being sold d at Shoprite Supermarket.

People sneaked through their offices before knocking time, in order to have a chance of buying sugar which was sold at K214.00 so as to save some money which could be used to buy other necessities since vendors are selling the same at the range of K450 t0 K500 a packet.

The shortage of sugar has hit the country and prices have skyrocketed as traders are taking advantage to make exorbitant profits.

Scores queued to buy sugar and caused traffic congestion in the city since the Shoprite is along the road and just opposite to the exit gate of the bus depot.

At first people were allowed to buy up to five packets but shop authorities later allowed only two packets.

Police came to instil order on the queuing consumers.

However, such events are never short of drama. People burst into laughter when they saw a man shaking his head after bribing someone with K200 for short cut entry to the queue only to be allowed to buy two packets.

Most of the traders talked to expressed disappointment with Illovo Sugar Company over the shortage of the commodity on the market.

They wondered why the company could not meet the demand of sugar on the local market.

A check in most shops in the city centre revealed that the retailers did not have the commodity apart from Shoprite.

Illovo’s spokesperson Irene Phalula said the shortage is due to the control of the supply by the company “until the start of the new sugar milling season in April.”

Phalula said Illovo is controlling the distribution of sugar by limiting supplies; prioritising key customers in whom it has confidence will sell into the domestic market.

Meanwhile, Limphasa Sugar Corporation plans to invest $40-million to kick-start sugar cane production in the northern lakeshore district of Nkhata Bay in 2013, according to company’s spokesperson, Kirit Thakrar.

The company, which has a 600 ha plant-ation at the site, is set to become Malawi’s second-biggest sugar producer after Illovo Sugar group, which owns the Nchalo and Dwangwa sugar cane plantations and sugar factories in the country.

In search for sugar

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