Maize prices continue to sour especially in the country’s major cities as traders are hoarding the commodity in anticipation of higher prices during the lean period.
Agriculture activist Tamani-Nkhono Mvula has asked the government to release maize from the strategic grain reserves to stabilize the grain prices.
“The traders are hoarding the maize in anticipation for good prices in January or February,” said Nkhono.
The country’s Strategic Grain Reserves (SGR) is reportedly facing a record low and State produce trader Admarc is failing to stock up.
National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) , which manages SG, should have had 217 000 metric tonnes (MT) comprising 95 000 MT buffer stocj, 8 000MT emergency stock, 76 000 MT safety net stock for non-emergency response and 38 000MT stabilisation stock. But NFRA has in stock 25 000MT.
Maize prices went up by more than two per cent in October alone.
NFRA chief executive officier Nasimuko Saukira said the agency would replenish the stocks of the staple this month.
“We are taking correct measures,” he said.
Admarc board chairperson Felix Jumbe said businesses are doing an “import parity price” and looking how they are able to fetch if they are to export.
“If price is lowee, you will find them having a hoarding effect,” he said.
Consumer Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito said Malawians should brace for tougher times as maize prices will continue to rise.
He said the government seems to be helpless on the traders who are hoarding the country’s staple food.
The inadequate maize stocks is pushing grain prices by day, raising fears of another hunger.
Citizens are calling on government to replenish the stocks through local purchases or importation in case of unforeseeable humanitarian needs.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :