Police in Lilongwe on Monday fired tear gas to disperse irate poultry vendors protesting a hike in the price of broiler chickens at Central Poultry Companyâ€™s Dudu Estate.
Both Central Region Police spokesperson John Namalenga and Central Poultry Company human resources manager Benson Chirwa confirmed the incident in interviews on Monday.
It all started in the morning when the vendors learnt that the company had raised the price of live birds four times within a month.
During a visit to the scene, The Nation crew learnt that Central Poultry had increased the cost of one live bird to K1 150 from K1Â 050 effective July 2 2012, which prompted disgruntled vendors to react negatively.
Chirwa blamed the tension on the vendorsâ€™ committee which he said did not effectively communicate about the change in the pricing of their products to their members.
He said the hike in their products follows a corresponding increase in raw materials for manufacturing chicken feed such as soya beans and maize on the market.
â€œWe have agreed that in the interim, we will be selling at K1 050 for those buying over 49 birds and K1 125 per chicken for those buying less than 49 chickens up until Wednesday. From Wednesday and beyond, we have agreed to sell the chickens at K1 175 and K1 100 for those buying above 49 birds.â€
One of the vendors, Peter Malolo, said he was shocked by Central Poultryâ€™s decision to increase the cost of one bird from K850 two weeks ago to K1 050.
Namalenga, however, said there was no arrest after the incident, adding that the damage at the company was minor.