The use of indelible ink to control vendors from buying maize at Ntchisi Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) market hit a snag as the vendors continue buying the maize by removing the ink using kachasu (a locally distilled liquor) or applying oil to the finger before dipping it into the ink.
Ntchisi Admarc supervisor, Clement Nampota, said vendors were creating problems at the market resulting in needy people from rural areas failing to access the grain.
He said a few days after introducing use of indelible ink to buyers, there was sanity at the market, but vendors soon discovered the ink was washable using kachasu.
“Some vendors apply oil to their fingers so that the ink does not stick,” said Nampota.
The supervisor said if the maize were to be bought by bonafide buyers only, the market would be satisfying the demand, but said vendors were denying those who genuinely do not have food in their houses.
In an interview, a vendor who spoke on condition of anonymity admitted beating the system.
He said: “Would you know this finger was dipped in ink yesterday? We have ways to clean the ink, we use kachasu to clean the finger or apply oil to the fingers before we come.”
He added “We live on vending and if we do not do what we are doing, what are we going to eat? If I manage to buy 40 kgs of maize, I get K2 000 from the bosses who send us, which is enough to keep me going for a day.”
Commenting on how they would arrest the situation, Ntchisi Police officer-in-charge Charles Kamzingeni said his office will beef up officers to control vendors.
During the time of the reporter’s visit, the market only had two police officers on duty. n