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Sugar shortage scare

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Sugar is in short supply in Lilongwe and Blantyre, a development that has seen the commodity’s price rocketing to between K1,100 and K1,300 per kilogramme.

The Daily Times’ snap checks indicated that some shops have had no stocks or very limited stocks of sugar in the past few days.

Over the just ended week, most wholesalers at Bwalo la Njovu in Lilongwe had no sugar.

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One bale of sugar, which contains 20 packets, has been selling at K20,000 or less but, yesterday, wholesalers that had the commodity were selling it at K22,500 or more.

One of the wholesalers said they had no sugar in stock but were searching for the commodity.

“But the prices will be higher than those that were being offered before,” he said.

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In Blantyre, there was no sugar in stock at two shops at Ginnery Corner.

In Blantyre Central Business District, buyers who wanted the commodity were being asked to pay K200 more so that shop staff could go and ferry the commodity from storerooms.

Last week, Illovo Sugar Malawi, which is the biggest manufacturer of sugar, issued a statement refuting speculation that sugar would run out of stock in outlets.

The statement, which was signed by Illovo Sugar Malawi spokesperson Olive Kawelama, indicated that both of the company’s mills were operational.

It further indicated that it was a common practice for cane haulage to be affected during the early part of the season due to wet fields.

“Cane haulage usually resumes expeditiously as soon as excess water has drained off and it is safe for the haulage vehicles to access the fields.

“This is done as a safety measure to avoid vehicles being stack in the fields. This, however, does not automatically signify a looming sugar shortage as the factory continues to produce sugar from the sugarcane already available in its factory yard,” the statement reads.

Another sugar company, Salima Sugar Company, has indicated that it has enough stocks and that supplies were normal.

“Distributors are yet to inform us of shortfall,” said company secretary Charles Thupi.

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