Informal market hikes maize prices -Cisanet

Civil Society Agricultural Network (CISANET) research has revealed price of maize in the informal market such as vendors has hiked sharply now selling a 50 Kg bag at K17, 000 as the country’s staple food continues to be in demand.

Malawi vendors hike grain prices as hunger bites
Malawi vendors hike grain prices as hunger bites
Tamani Nkhono Mvula and other officials presenting the report to the media
Tamani Nkhono Mvula and other officials presenting the report to the media

Malawi is facing a food shortage owing to a 30 percent drop in harvest for maize, the staple grain, in the 2014/15 growing season due to combined effects of floods and drought in January 2015.

State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) is currently struggling to supply adequate tonnage of the staple grain in its depots and selling points nationwide, forcing thousands of Malawians to spend nights at the selling points in anticipation of the next delivery.

Cisanet executive director Tamani Nkhono Mvula told journalists that the research which OXFARM, Cisanet and Cadecom conducted revealed that scarcity of maize in the country has triggered the maize prices up that ordinary Malawians cannot afford to acquire the life serving commodity.

Nkhono said the research was conducted in 20 ADMARC depots.

“Of the 20 markets visited, only 6 of them were found selling the maize, the demand was high than supply, quantities sold were as low as 10kg per person to meet the demand, “said Mvula.

Mvula said that the research found that some citizens spent days waiting for the maize supply.

The research has also offered lucrative market to private traders according to Mvula.

Mvula added that as of 9th February Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) had 20,000 metric tonnes of maize of which 18,000 were for WFP humanitarian response while ADMARC had 9,200 metric tonnes.

He said the research revealed that private traders have 68,000 Metric Tonnes.

“However, this quantity did not trickle on the market as required by demand,” said Mvula.

The research has recommended to Malawi Government to declare state of disaster in selected parts of the country, especially in the southern region, in particular, the Lower Shire.

“Lifting up import bans on food related products and ensure availability of import license through a transparent process so that Government should release whatever maize they have in strategic grain reserves (SGR), as a temporarily measure while urgently planning for restocking of the SGRs”

The research further recommended that government should with immediate effect, articulate a clear, transparent, and accountable policy for maize stocking, allocation, and release, prioritising needs from now throughout the coming 2016/2017 El Nino influenced lean season.

Further more government has been asked to allocate additional funding towards maize procurement

“Government should consider buying maize from the private traders, locally as a temporal measure while capacitating ADMARC to timely buy maize from farmers,” said Mvula.

Cisanet has recommended that ADMARC to prioritise hard to reach areas in maize allocation and introduce an accountable policy for prioritising sales when supplies fall short.

Admarc has been rationing the maize, restricting individuals to buy a maximum of 20 kg.

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