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George Chaponda justifies closure of Admarc markets

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Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, George Chaponda, has said government is deliberately taking tactical approach by closing some Admarc selling points in the country to avoid compromising the purchase of maize.

Currently, government is sourcing maize in response to the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee report that 6.5 million people will be food insecure in the 2016/2017 season.

Chaponda said the maize is being purchased both locally and internationally.

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“We are currently buying maize for Admarc and the National Food Reserve Agency, as such we cannot be selling the maize at the same time because we are avoiding creating a vicious cycle where people will be buying maize at lower prices from Admarc and sell the same maize to Admarc at exorbitant prices,” Chaponda said.

He said government established a time frame for the purchase of the maize and it will announce the dates for the opening of the Admarc markets.

“We know that people need food but as I said, we are delaying tactically for obvious reasons. I must say that the distribution of relief aid which government launched will be starting soon, probably in September as we are also waiting to open the markets,” he said

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Chaponda could, however, not be drawn to comment on the amount of the food aid Malawi has received so far but only said people will be supplied with maize and rice when the exercise starts.

On Wednesday, Admarc Spokesperson, Agnes Chikoko, said they are only selling maize in areas that are worst hit by hunger such as the Eastern Region and the Shire Valley.

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