Maize traders on Wednesday petitioned the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture over the suspension of purchases of the grain by the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA).
The suspension follows a government order to divert funds meant for NFRA maize purchases to State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).
The traders presented their petition at around 2pm as Parliament resumed its Wednesday sitting. Representatives of the traders were met by committee chairperson Joseph Chidanti-Malunga accompanied by legislators Bon Kalindo (Mulanje South) and Allan Ngumuya (Blantyre City South), among others.
In her remarks, a representative of the traders, Manganaye Kambauwa, said that they are paying huge sums of money to transporters for waiting charges.
She said some traders have already accrued over K1 million in transport costs; hence, telling them to sell the maize to Admarc was unfair yet an avoidable situation.
Said Kambauwa: “We are pleading with you the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture to bring this matter to the attention of government that they must allow us to sell whatever maize we are remaining with because we are not going to make money out of this.”
In his response, Malunga said the committee will include the matter on the list of issues the legislators will discuss with NFRA in due course.