Government has directed the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) to immediately commence selling maize in Likoma, Nsanje and Chikwawa districts with one person not allowed to buy more than 25 kilogrammes (kg).
In a letter to the State grain trader, dated August 1, 2022, Ministry of Agriculture Principal Secretary (PS) Sandram Maweru says the rationing is to stabilise prices and eliminate vendors who abuse the system.
Maweru has also disclosed that there are reports of deteriorating food security in the three districts where prices of the staple grain there have soared.
The food insecurity has reportedly arisen from climatic shocks that were experienced in various parts of the country.
“In order to achieve the purpose of price stabilisation, ensure that proper rationing of the maize is done to avoid abuse by the vendors and at no point in time shall the maize be sold in bulk.
“The ration should be 25 kilogrammes or less per person and close monitoring should be done to ensure that this is adhered to,” the letter reads in part.
The PS has also directed that the maize should be sold at the recommended price of K300 per kg, following a recent raise from K209 per kg.
Admarc has since been asked to remit all the proceeds from the said sales to government’s Account Number One.
Recently, Admarc Board Chairperson Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi said the grain trader had placed the purchasing limit of maize at 50kg per person in all depots across the country.
“We will initially not allow more than one bag per person until we get alternative instructions on any changes and we will communicate to the public too.
“We will set up market committees with the assistance from the chiefs, Members of Parliament and Ward Councillors to ensure that vendors and unknown people are easily identified and stopped from buying maize,” he said.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Consumers Association of Malawi John Kapito believes the rationing is a sign of a looming food crisis in the country.
Kapito has challenged authorities to come in the open and tell Malawians “the true situation on the ground”.
He further wonders how a country that to export thousands of tonnes of maize could find itself in a situation where it is rationing its strategic food commodity. was about
“It all points to one thing, that we do not have enough maize even though we wanted to sell some not long ago. Government should be honest with its people, so that people do not play around with the grains that they have in stock.
“They have raised the price to control the demand; it only shows that they are trying to manage something which they do not want to come in the open about,” Kapito said.
Government over the weekend directed an increase in prices of maize sold by Admarc from K209 to K300 per kg.
The State grain trader will get the maize to sell from the Strategic Grain Reserves managed by the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA).
During a meeting with authorities from the Ministry of Agriculture which took place two weeks ago, Admarc was given permission to sell 6,000 metric tonnes from the NFRA stock.