The price of maize dropped by around 20 and 30 percent countrywide in January as private grain trader Mulli Brothers flooded the market with supplies.
Mulli Brothers operations manager Joseph Khupe confirmed in an interview on Sunday that his company pumped more grain into the market starting from late December.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Throughout last year, we have been releasing plenty of grain into the market, but we doubled our efforts at the end of last year. We can assure Malawians that we have plenty of grain which should be able to take them to the next harvest,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Investigations by The Nation indicated that Mulli is trading the grain at between K50 ($0.30) and K56 ($0.33) per kg, depending on location.
This has seen the price of maize in Blantyre, for example, reducing from K4 500 (about $26) to K3 000 (about $17), representing a 33 percent drop while in Lilongwe and Zomba, the staple grain has dropped by 22 percent from K4 000 ($23) to K3 000.
The drop in maize prices should be a relief to authorities as it is likely to ease pressure on the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s inflation which started climbing in October as rising food prices bite.
Food contributes 58.1 percent to MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Consumer Price Index.
But some small-scale grain traders have said the drop will hurt business.
Blantyre-based maize trader Joseph Phiri said he bought 2 000 bags of maize at K62 per kg and is forced to sell the grain at K60 per kg because of the drop.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The unfortunate part is that I took a loan from a bank worth over K3 million, hoping to make a kill within a month and repay the loan,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Phiri.
John Kuyewawa, another Blantyre-based maize trader, attributed the drop in prices to the release of the grain unto the market by some business people.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Some maize traders, who were hoarding the grain, have since released it because of the promising crop outlook in some districts,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Kuyewawa was selling 50kg bag of maize at K4 500, but was forced to reduce the price because of some market forces.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Mulli comes here with truckloads of maize and sells a 50kg bag at K3 000 and we, small-scale traders, had no choice but to reduce our prices,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Arnold Ghenti, another trader in Nsanje, agreed that Mulli has contributed immensely to the drop in prices of the staple grain.
In Nsanje, maize price has also dropped from K4 000 to about K3 000.
MBL Holdings managing director Leston Mulli in an interview last week refuted allegation that the company is controlling the market.
He, however, said although MBL Holding is in business, it is also aware that it has a responsibility of ensuring that the price of grain is not out of reach of most poor Malawians.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“What we are doing is not just business, but also a service to the community. It is not only the duty of government to ensure that people access the commodity at affordable prices, but business people, too, have that duty,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Mulli said his company is supplying maize throughout the country and so far 10 000 metric tonnes have been sold out.