The consumer rights watchdog, the Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) have come in support of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) leader Shepherd Prophet Bushiri on his call that maize traders should make available the commodity on the country’s market for the benefit of the common man.
Bushiri stated in his statement issued on Monday this week that if traders will keep withholding maize for higher prices, he will personally buy thousands of tones of maize and inject them into the country’s Admarc.
Cama executive director John Kapito backed Bushiri in an interview with local Malawi media on the observations the ECG leader made on the scarcity of maize and soaring of prices of the precious commodity.
Kapito agreed with Bushiri that scores of needy Malawians are going to find difficulties in accessing the staple commodity following a drastic rise of its prices on the local market.
In his statement released on Monday, Bushiri expressed concern on the tendency of traders to withhold maize and pending it for higher prices, a development which according to Kapito is denying the right for consumers to access the product.
He said: “I agree with him that there is a lot of maize in the country. But vendors are anticipating higher prices. They are taking advantage of unavailability of maize in Admarc to exploit the market. We can not force them to bring the product, but something should be done.”
Prophet Bushiri, who has been reaching out to millions of people with food aid for the past five years, expressed concerned on the drastic soaring of maize price in the country, saying that the situation is robbing off poor people’s opportunity to access the farm produce.
For the past two weeks, maize prices in the country have been rising from K7 000 to about K16 500 per 50 kilograms.
In the response to the questionnaire, his spokesperson Ephraim Nyondo said the ECG leader is a key stakeholder in Malawi’s food security hence his demand that maize sellers should peg a reasonable price for the benefit of needy consumers.
He said: “He has, for the past 5 years, been providing humanitarian food to millions of Malawians. Hence, he has a voice. He wants private traders to be compassionate with Malawians in a way of releasing the maize and supply it to Admarc at government’s set price of K230 to K250 per kg.”
Malawi, has over one million people going hungry in the current season which according to Bushiri means that more Malawians will be affected with the soaring of price of the staple crop.
Prophet Bushiri further denied in his statement that there is shortage of maize in the country. He further argued that Admarc does not have maize as much of it is being hoarded by private traders.
Prophet Bushiri has even dared private traders that if they do not make available the commodity on the market, he will source maize and supply it to Admarc for stabilisation of the market.
But government spokesperson Mark Botoman could not be drawn to comment on whether go government will welcome his move to pump maize into the country’s admarc.
He said: “I have read the statement but I have not gathered enough information that can make me respond to that. But i have understood the content of the statement.”
However, he has not specified how many tonnes he intends to pour in Admarcs if traders may not make it available on the markets.
According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) current report,Malawi will face crisis levels of acute food insecurity between October 2019 to March 2020 due to shortfalls in localised production caused by heavy rains and flooding.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :