The country’s sole sugar producer, Illovo (Sugar) Malawi Limited has admitted it is currently controlling the supply of the commodity on the market, the development that has created sugar scarcity.
Since last month, the country has been experiencing acute shortage of sugar, forcing some wholesale and retail sellers to hike the commodities’ selling price. As of November last year sugar has been selling at K230 per Kg, but now due to the scarcity the commodity is being sold at K300 per Kg to the discomfort of most Malawians.
Illovo’s Public Relations Manager Ireen Phalula told Capital Radio that they were deliberately controlling supply of the commodity on the market in order to frustrate some local businessmen who were illegally exporting the product at the expense of poor people.
“It has been discovered some of local traders were buying sugar in large quantities, paying tax as if the product is for local market only to exporting it to neighboring countries. Therefore, we decided to control the supply until April which is our milling time,” Phalula said.
She, however, dismissed claims that the company was holding sugar despite admitting that the controlling of supplies has created scarcity of the commodity on the local market.
Phalula was quick to point out that the situation would improve starting next month when the company opens its new milling season.
“Our milling season runs from April to November every year and we expect to have enough supply of sugar on local market, and that the situation will be back to normal. Since September last year some unscrupulous traders were illegally exporting sugar out of Malawi and we resorted into controlling the supplies in order to ensure the country does not run out of the commodity,” she added.
According to Phalula Illovo does not dictate wholesale and retail sugar prices, saying being a liberal market, people were free to sale the price at own chosen prices.
“Despite fluctuation of sugar prices on the market, as Illovo we have not increased our selling prices since November last year. We are not holding sugar but we are controlling the supply to avoid some traders exporting it illegally,” she explained.