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‘Maize prices hike to hurt consumers’

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Consumer rights watchdog, the Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) has warned that the recent upward adjustment in maize farm gate prices would exert further pressure on local consumers who are already grappling to make ends meet.

This comes after the government announced last week that it has approved an upward adjustment of the selling price of maize from Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) sales points.

The prices have been adjusted upwards from K205 per kilogramme (kg) to K300 per kg.

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In a statement issued Tuesday, Cama Executive Director John Kapito rated as shocking the government’s decision to increase the maize price at a time when it was already high.

“Consumers are struggling to afford the current market prices as they are experiencing one of the worst high costs of living. We were expecting the government to introduce maize prices that would take into consideration the current economic challenges being faced by consumers.

“The government is aware that most consumers are going through the worst economic and social challenges and we didn’t expect the government to be so insensitive by announcing higher maize prices that have a huge negative economic implication on their welfare,” Kapito said.

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Maize is the country’s staple food and weighs heavily in the Consumer Prices Index—a basket for computing inflation— and any price adjustments have an impact on the cost of living.

But according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, maize output is estimated to be about 30 to 50 percent below a five year average.

As a result, poor households’ food stocks are expected to last until August compared to October in a typical year, especially in the Southern Region.

Kapito says in the statement that the negative impact of higher maize prices will result in serious negative health implications.

He then called on the government to consider reducing the price and ensure that the market has enough stock to contain any possible pressure.

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