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Falling maize prices alarm seed experts

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Agriculture experts are asking government to put a ceiling on maize prices to protect farmers. The call comes at a time when prospects of a bumper harvest this year have pushed maize prices down by over 400 percent.

Currently, a 50 kilogramme bag of maize is being sold at K2,500 in some parts of the country, a drop from K12,500 at the peak of the food shortage the country experienced last year.

While the trend has helped push inflation down to 15.8 percent and in the process making the staple affordable to many Malawians, experts fear the development may be detrimental to maize production.

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Peacock Seed Chief Executive Officer Felix Jumbe said it is likely that farmers will be discouraged by the low prices.

“If the trend will continue, it means farmers will sell their produce at a lower price which means they will make loses when they consider the cost of production” Jumbe said.

He said recent development pointing to a syndicate which is exporting maize is an indication that traders are already looking for better markets.

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In a separate interview Trade Manager at AHL Commodities Exchange Thandizo Shaba alluded that profits are likely going to decrease this year owing to bumper harvests expected this year.

“On an individual level, people are going to make profits but not the supernormal profits that we saw last year because of the high production this year,” he said.

Maize production this year is expected to reach 3.2 million tonnes according to estimates produced by the Ministry of Agriculture.

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