Illovo Sugar (Malawi) Limited has assured the country of availability of sugar in the next one or two weeks following the commencement of production at the companyâ€™s two factories, Dwangwa in Nkhotakota and Nchalo in Chikhwawa.
South Africa based managing director of Illovo Group, Graham Clark, disclosed this after a meeting the companyâ€™s officials had with Malawi President Joyce Banda.
Sugar has for the past few weeks been scarce on the marketâ€”just as forex and fuelâ€”resulting in people queuing for the commodity.
Some traders took advantage of the situation to hike sugar prices from K220 to K500.
After a closed meeting with the President, Clark said they wanted to update Malawiâ€™s leader on the sugar production and availability in the country.
“We are pleased to have advised her Excellency that the two sugar factories in Malawi are in full production; pipelines are being supplied currently, and the message we gave is that the market and the people of Malawi should be assured there is plenty of sugar in the system,” he said.
Malawiâ€™s Secretary of Trade and Industry, Newby Kumwembe, attributed the scarcity of the commodity to unprecedented demand that occurred towards the end of the last production season as the two factories closes during the rainy season.
“As we move towards the closure of the season next year, we have plans that we should not starve the market. We have learnt from this yearâ€™s occurrence that we need to have proper planning in terms of how sugar movement occurs in this country,” said Kumwembe.
Clark admitted that some traders exported the commodity to raise foreign currency which also contributed to the scarcity.
“We had a problem that occurred towards the end of last year. A lot of sugar left the country without anybody knowing; it left the country in order to raise foreign currency and as a result, there was an artificial shortage created in the market, but I think that is behind us now,” said the managing director.
He advised traders in the country not to profit from the situation.