Malawi Government says it will continue selling only 10 kilogrammes of maize to buyers at Admarc points until the lean period is over.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Ulemu Chilapondwa said this on Tuesday after touring five Admarc depots in Blantyre, Thyolo and Mulanje districts in the Southern Region.
The tour was organised by Blantyre Press Club with support from the ministry meant to appreciate the availability of maize in some depots.
The team visited Zingwangwa, Thyolo, Luchenza, Milonde and Mulanje depots.
Each of the depots had enough maize to last for a week.
However, some buyers complained that the quantity is too small. As such they asked government to consider raising it to 20 kilogrammes.
But Chilapondwa said government will not change the quantity.
He said the decision was made to protect the grain from vendors who buy and sell it at a higher price.
“If we change the quantity, we will lose all the maize in a few days and people will starve. Many people are not able to buy 10kg at the cheap price, therefore, it will be worse if we give room to vendors to sell it at a higher price,” said Chilapondwa.
Maize at Admarc depots is selling at K80 per kg and Chilapondwa said there is over 10 000 metric tonnes of maize on the market.
Meanwhile, people who queue at Mzuzu Admarc said the 10kg allocation is not enough for their families. Most of the people that The Nation spoke to claimed they look after orphans and the hours they spend on the queues are not worth the 10 kilogrammes.
They said they have to walk long distances now and then just to buy the maize. They said the development has forced some people to bribe officials to access the maize.
“I come from Enyezini just to buy the 10 kg. I have two children and I look after six orphans and the maize we buy here does not last more than two days. We are suffering. We come here as early as 1 am. There is need for government to increase the allocation to more than 25 kilogrammes,” said Tembenuka.
But Admarc regional manager (North) James Gausi trashed claims that people get to the selling points as early as 1 am.
“We have enough maize and there is no need to panic. In the first lot, we got 2 500 tonnes and we have also been allocated another 2 500 tonnes which we have already started accessing,” said Gausi.