The Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) has asked government to order private traders to release maize to the public and break the vicious cycle of hoarding the grain for anticipated inflated prices.
The consumer rights body also said it is shocked that government is importing maize when there is a lot of maize in the country.
Kapito claimed in a statement made available to Nyasa Times on Tuesday that private traders are hoarding the maize and demanding higher prices that range from K300 to K350 per kilogram, when they purchased such maize from poor Malawians at K60 per kilogram.
“And we are aware that the private traders are intending to export the maize to satisfy their greed at a time when Malawians are dying of hunger.
“We are surprised that government is failing to demand that all maize being held by private traders must be released onto the market; what is also more shocking is the denial by government to understand that Malawi has got a lot of maize and therefore does not need to waste tax-payers’ money by importing maize,” reads the statement in part.
He also asked government to inspect all private traders’ warehouses that are hoarding maize to determine the quantities.
“Government must order all traders that are hoarding the maize to release it onto the market immediately. Government must recommend the selling price for such maize, knowing fully that it had recommended the buying price of maize from the farmers after harvesting,” says the statement.
The statement further say government “must identify other strategic distribution channels that are closer to people” other than Admarc for the selling of maize with immediate effect.
“All private traders and Admarc scales must be verified and well calibrated by the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) regularly.
“CAMA is, therefore, reminding Government that failure to implement the recommendations would mean that Government is part of the syndicate of those traders that are failing to release the maize onto the market,” asserted Kapito.
Nyasa Times also understands that private grain traders are not ready to sale the commodity to Admarc or government.
According to a report—in our possession– on availability of Maize in the country, Admarc officers carried out the survey and visited most agro traders in the country to find out who has the maize, their quantities with and conditions for the sale.
The survey was carried out on January 30 2016.
“Most Agro Traders have the commodity but are not willing sale to Admarc or Government due to the fluctuation and instability of the local currency,” reads the report in part.
The agro traders that were visited and have the commodity are Pride Produce, Export Trading, K U Distributors and Trans Globe.
In terms of tonnage—as of January 30—Pride Produce had 9,000 tonnes; Export Trading 89,000 tonnes; K U Distributors 70,000 tonnes while Trans-Globe had 40,000 tonnes of maize.
While K U Distributors were ready to sale the commodity to government at K207 and K215 at their Lilongwe and Blantyre storage sites, respectively, the other traders are “willing to sale” the maize to government.
In Blantyre, the report claim, the maize is expensive because of transport and it mostly came in the country from Zambia.
“Physical inspection was done to all warehouses where the maize is kept and this period we see high increase in the price of commodities due to instability and fall of the Kwacha against the major currencies. This was done to verify the availability of the commodity unlike other traders who claim they have the maize and yet they are just middle men who have no capacity to supply,” reads the report.
The development has forced government to spend its hard earned forex to buy maize from Zambia. And yet the government invested in the maize through Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP).
The value for those tons is K58 billion and the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) can get over K12 billion in tax from the profits the traders have made over the same maize.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :