One of the community members in Ntcheu district, Lonjezo Manjawira, said vendors hire people in the surrounding villages to buy the maize for them at Manjawira Admarc.
“At Manjawira Admarc depot when maize is dispatched few members in our village have access to it because most of the grain is bought by vendors who use our fellow villagers. The villagers are paid K100 after buying 10 Kilogrammes,” said Manjawira.
It is not only Manjawira depot which is facing such a challenge as a visit to Balaka depot also revealed that the malpractice is rampant.
Old woman who identified herself as Abiti M’mwenye had this to say: “Ndinatuma zidzukula zanga kuti adzagule chimanga koma akhala akubwelera chabe kwa masiku anayi ndiye lero ndati ndibwele ndekha komabe zikukayikitsa kuti ndigula. Mwanawe tikuvutikatu ife (I sent my grand children to buy maize here but for four days they have been coming home empty handed so I have just decided to come personally but it’s also doubtful that I’m going to buy the grain. We are really starving my son)”
Balaka Admarc depot officer who chose to speak on condition of anonymity told Maravi Post that they are aware of the malpractice but it’s difficult for them to effectively act on it as the vendors use people in the same area.
“It’s very difficult to identify the unscrupulous buyers because the vendors use legitimate members of the community,” he said.
The situation is leaving the poor Malawians with no alternative but to hunt for maize at private traders who are selling the grain at exorbitant prices.
In Admarc depots 10 Kilogrammes is sold at K800 while vendors sell the same 10 Kgs at K2000.
Recently, Ministry of Agriculture announced the rationing of maize sales to only 10 kilogrammes per customer as one way of fending off unscrupulous traders who buy the grain in bulk at a lower price and then sell it at a higher price.
Food crisis has hit the once declared hunger free country with Traditional Authority Tambala in Dedza district being the hardest hit area.
Reacting to the situation, the country’s president Joyce Banda is moving up and down giving food handouts to the most affected people.
First Posted on the Maravipost.com website