The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Irrigation has called for maize price reduction at Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) markets from the current K12 500 per 50 kilogramme (kg) bag.
But Admarc board chairperson James Masumbu said the State produce trader is not ready to reduce prices because the reasons for setting the prices at current level have not changed.
The parliamentary committee’s chairperson Joseph Chidanti-Malunga in an interview said they have already prepared a motion to that effect which will be tabled in Parliament before it rises for this Mid-Year Budget Review session.
“There is also a possibility that we would be asking Admarc to reduce maize prices to reflect the market value. But I know that government still insists that it cannot reduce maize prices, but as members of Parliament we are geared up to table this motion in Parliament,” he said.
Chidanti Malunga said another option would be for government to consider selling maize off for humanitarian food assistance.
Traders in various markets are selling a bag of maize at between K8 500 and K9 000.
Since Admarc opened its markets in October last year, there has been no scramble for the staple grain as compared to last year.
Masumbu said the fact that people are not patronising their markets is a matter of concern, but argued that the pricing considered “everything in terms of the actual expenses and the fact that this particular maize was bought using borrowed funds”.
Market watchers have said there is a likelihood that maize prices will further go down taking into account the prospects for this year.
First round crop estimates show that the country is expected to chalk a 35.9 percent increase in maize output to 3.2 million metric tonnes from last year’s 2.3 million metric tonnes.
Last month, faith-based group Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) called on President Peter Mutharika to order Admarc to reduce the price of maize, arguing that the prices are worsening the hunger situation for poor Malawians.