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Liquor tops SME business—survey

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BY CHIMWEMWE MANGAZI

A snap survey by the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (Nasme) has revealed that beer sales have significantly gone up in both urban and rural area since the onset of the harvesting season.

The development comes at a time sales in other businesses, especially food, have stagnated.

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Results of the survey have shown that beer sales have increased by an average of 75 percent since April.

Nasme Executive Director, William Mwale, said the trend is perpetuated by the low cost of beer in most parts of the country, especially in rural settings.

“The beers are affordable in most rural set up,” said Mwale, adding that imbibers claim that they drink kachasu and other spirits to forget their problems while others claim they like to socialise in drinking joints.

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“Of course beer business is always doing better as it is considered as part of food. However, comparatively it has boomed to the extent some of our members in the agro sector have opted to go into beer selling,” Mwale said.

One of the members of the association, Chawo Marianne, said liquour sales are on the rise because of the low price at which it is selling.

She said most Malawians cannot afford many items on the market, thereby, using the little money they have to buy the affordable liquor.

Marianne cites an example of a dress made from local chitenje which is selling for at least K25,000.

“Would a local ordinary Malawian afford this? Yet beer is even found as low as K50,” Marianne wondered.

She further indicated that there are so many restrictions by the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) on food and hygiene, adding that instead of helping the trader to understand the importance of such measures, the authorities just rush to close down the operators.

The study further shows prices of agricultural commodities in Malawi are so much exaggerated to portray an image that farmers are benefiting when, in actual fact, they are not.

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