MCCCI against Malawi govt’s control in agriculture trade

The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has expressed disapproval of government’s control in agriculture trade arguing it impacts negatively on the market.

The Chamber, in a statement signed jointly by its Ppresident Matthews Chikankheni and Chief Executive Officer Chancellor Kaferapanjira, says such restrictions deprive farmers of better prices and also act as disincentives for them to grow more.

MCCCI has since asked authorities to issue such bans only when there are compelling reasons.

“Sometimes they [farmers] shift to producing other crops and, at times, they reduce output of the food crop. When farmers produce less, consumers pay higher prices since the food commodity’s production is kept below potential. Thus, food trade restrictions actually aggravate the price spiral [inflation] and instability,” reads the statement in part.

Kaferapanjira: Decries export restrictions

The chamber has also condemned government for setting minimum and maximum prices in agriculture trade.

It further argues that when export bans are adhoc, food products that are grown to satisfy export orders translate into substantial income losses by farmers as they are left rotting.

“The persistence of such uncertainty about the implementation of export bans can erase Malawi’s ability to engage in export trade, yet the overarching objective of Malawi is to become a producing and exporting country,” observes the Chamber.

MCCCI also notes lack of transparency in decisions governing food commodity trade policy.

In October 2012, the Ministry of Industry and Trade warned against maize exports to neighbouring countries and indicated that the export ban on maize and maize products issued earlier in the year was not yet lifted.

Export of maize and maize products requires an export licence issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade before effecting exportation which is in accordance with the Control of Goods Act Chapter 18:08 of the laws of Malawi.

In view of the above, the ministry emphasised that the export ban on maize and maize products had not been lifted as such no person is allowed to export maize and maize products.

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