Government has ordered Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) to bring down the prices of maize just days after it raised the selling prices of pigeon peas (Nandolo) as political campaign heats up ahead of the 2019 polls.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha has announced that maize in Admarc depots would now be sold at K170 per kilogram up from K250 per kilogram.
Mwanamvekha said thison Thursday in chief Chigaru’s area in Blantyre.
He was launching nationwide relief food distribution exercise in the wake of food shortages in some parts of the country due to drought, heavy flooring and army worms.
This has received mixed reactions, however, as some people think the reduction in maize prices is a mere campaign ploy whilst others say that Admarc was heading for losses as maize prices in private markets is still lower because the grain has flooded the markets.
Just last week, the government announced that Admarc would be buying pigeon peas from farmers at K230 per kilogramme (kg).
Trade minister Henry Mussa, at a news conference, could however not say how much the government has reserved for the exercise nor could he say the tonnage Admarc is expected to buy.
He however said the government is using unforseen circumstances vote since this was not budgeted for.
The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture has however questioned the reasoning behind the use of the unforeseen circumstances vote.
The government directive to start buying pigeon peas comes almost four months after local farmers harvested the pigeon peas.