Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) is mulling over a new law prohibiting the importation of cheap non-trade scales often used to impoverish farmers.
Speaking during the World Metrological Day in Balaka on Friday, MBS director general Davlin Chokazinga said the bill currently under scrutiny at the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs is earmarked to replace the Weights and Measures Act of 1996.
Among other things, the Metrological Bill will help curb the influx of scales, especially from Asia, which are becoming a common sight in marketplaces and farm produce sales even though they are not meant for trade.
“The new legislation will also help the country save the forex which it wastes on procuring the non-trade scales unscrupulous characters use to defraud farmers and other Malawians. We think this is the right way to go because the unwanted scales are not even permissible in their countries of origin,” said Chokazinga.
True to his fears, a joint sweeping exercise by MBS and Malawi Police Service officers led to the confiscation of about 60 outlaw scales in the district two weeks ago.
At the commemorations, Balaka police spokesperson Joseph Sauka urged Malawians to report unscrupulous users of illicit scales and standards to the nearest police station.
“As the harvest and crop marketing season continue, many are traders that are using unacceptable scales to reap unethical profits while impoverishing farmers. However, we will only know the exact extent of the problem and intervene if people become aware of their rights and start reporting the criminal conduct to police,” said Sauka in an interview.
The Metrological Day is commemorated every May 20 in recognition of the metre convention in 1875. The belated commemoration was themed Measurements in Everyday Life.