State produce marketer Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) has started selling locally-sourced and imported maize at K110 ($0.19) per kilogramme amid a dire food situation in the country.
This means that a 50 kg bag of maize is selling at K5 500 ($9.82) in all Admarc depots nationwide.
Maize prices have continued to escalate in most markets as sales at Admarc depots were suspended as the grain marketer was procuring maize locally and from Zambia for distribution to outlets which are experiencing shortages.
Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development is reported to have bought the maize at an average price of K95 ($0.17) per kg and a landed price of K136 ($0.24) per kg with part of the K4.8 billion ($8 571 428) funding Parliament approved during the 2015/16 Budget Meeting.
This means that a 50 kg bag bought from Zambia would have cost about K6 700 ($11.96).
Admarc public relations officer Agness Ndovi, in an interview yesterday, said Admarc opened its depots last week (September 17).
“We bought 30 000 metric tonnes [MT] of maize from Zambia and 28 000 metric tonnes of the commodity locally and we are selling it at government subsidised price despite that the maize was procured at a much higher price so that a lot of Malawians who have been affected by hunger should be able to afford the commodity,” she said.
Ndovi said the sales are being rationed in areas where there is high demand so that more people should have access to the staple grain.
“In areas such as the Shire Valley, Blantyre and Phalombe, maize is on high demand as compared to other parts like in the Central Region and in border districts because the other areas were more affected than others.
“Where the demand is higher, we are selling a maximum of 25 kg per person to ensure that everyone who needs the commodity has access to it,” she said.
Ndovi said Admarc has since developed a monitoring system to check the selling progress.