Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) says the use of illegal weighing scales in local markets has dropped, thanks to intensified awareness campaigns.
MBS director of metrological services Thomas Senganimalunje said this at Mitundu in Lilongwe on Wednesday when the standards organisation conducted a campaign on the use of certified weighing scales.
He said: “The magnitude of the problem can be estimated at around 10 percent now, but two years ago, it was at around 30 percent.
“The impact is good. One of the strategies we have used is the collaboration with other stakeholders such as the Ministry of Agriculture and the Malawi Police Service, and the incidences are reducing. We are not yet where we want to be and that is why we are using the awareness campaign to improve the situation.”
Senganimalunje said for Malawi as an agro-based economy, a weighing scale is one of the key instruments used in selling agricultural produce.
He said engaging the communities in the markets is one way of enlightening them on which scales are acceptable to be used for trade.
“In situations where a buyer and a seller transact with such tampered scales, one of the two parties loses out, forming part of unfair trading practices,” said Senganimalunje.
One of the consumers, Takondwa Banda, said she was certain that such awareness campaigns will help the buyers to ensure that the traders do not steal from them.
She said: “For a long time, we have been duped by traders who often give us less than what we pay for because they tamper with the weighing scales.
“There are times when we think we have bought a kilogramme of goods not knowing that it is three quarters of a kilogramme.”
Banda said they now know that whenever they want to buy something that the traders use scales to weigh, they should ensure that the scales have an MBS stamp.
MBS recently confiscated about 950 uncertified scales across the country, which are a threat to fair trading practices.
The Metrology Act bars the operation and existence of illegal weighing scales that are not assized. n