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Unscrupulous agro-dealers irk CFTC

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By Chimwemwe Mangazi:

The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) has bemoaned increasing cases deceptive practices among traders in the country.

CFTC made the observation in Salima District on Friday during the 2019 Consumer Rights Day commemorations under the theme Trusted Smart Products in the Agricultural Sector.

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CFTC Director of Consumer Affairs and Education, Lewis Kulisewa, said the commemoration focused on the agriculture sector following a study they conducted in 2018 which showed that consumers were duped by agro-dealers and some companies.

“We noted that agro-dealers and some companies were supplying underweight products such as fertiliser and seeds. We also noted that some dealers were selling expired or counterfeit products, which is not good, and some companies were not declaring information about their products.

“That is why we wanted to inform the public to be on the lookout whenever they are buying any product,” Kulisewa said.

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Controller of Agriculture Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Alexander Bulirani, conceded that such malpractices have been going on for some time and the ministry was trying to contain the situation by engaging stakeholders.

Director of Administration and Finance in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Joseph Mkandawire, said the battle can best be won if consumers are observant.

“Before consumers buy a product, they should check the manufacturing date, expiry date and the manufacturer himself so that they consume what is right for them. We are also telling the traders to follow the laws of the country and not to dupe consumers,” Mkandawire said.

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Competition Commission’s Manager [Legal Services and Compliance], Mary Gurure, said they noted trends of misrepresentation and unconscionable conduct exercised by suppliers of goods and services.

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