Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) has faulted government for failing to put in place strategies that will ensure that private maize traders release the maize they are hoarding to the market.
In a statement signed by its Executive Director John Kapito, Cama said government does not need to spend forex on importation of maize when there is already enough maize in the country.
“Cama is shocked that the Malawi government is importing maize at a time when we all know that there is a lot of maize in the country which is being held by private traders in various warehouses throughout the country.
“What is more annoying is that the private traders are hoarding the maize and demanding higher prices that range from K300 to K350 per kilogramme when they purchased such maize from poor Malawians at K60 per kilogramme. 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,” Kapito said.
He said the government with support from Cama must inspect all private traders’ warehouses that are hoarding maize to determine the quantities being held as well as issuing an order demanding 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. Government must identify other strategic distribution channels that are closer to people other than the Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation of Malawi, (Admarc)” he said.
Kapito also said all private traders and Admarc scales must be verified and well calibrated by the Malawi Bureau of Standards 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.
“Cama is aware of all the traders that are hoarding maize and the warehouses where such maize is being held. Cama is calling upon government to advise the traders to release the maize onto the market or Cama will get those warehouses opened by force through other means,” Kapito said.
Government announced that it would purchase 30,000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia to avert the current food crisis.