- Selling at K9 000 per bag
- Consumers shun Admarc
As State produce trader Admarc continues to sell its maize at K12 500 per 50-kilogramme bag informal traders in the country are selling the same bag at as low as K9 000.
In random interviews this week, the traders said the price reduction is on account of maize availability on the market and in anticipation of a bumper harvest this year.
Spot checks by Weekend Nation between Monday and Thursday, revealed that vendors in Nsanje, Chikwawa, Blantyre, Mulanje, Ntcheu, Salima, Mangochi and Mzuzu City are selling a a bag of maize at between K9 000 and K10 000.
During random spot-checks of Admarc markets in Blantyre, we found no maize buyers at the markets. On Monday, this reporter spent one and a half hours at Che Mussa Admarc Market, but no consumer showed up to buy the commodity.
At another Admarc depot in Blantyre an official who declined to be named for fear of reprisals said: “It is difficult to sell a single bag of maize a day because people are not interested in Admarc maize. It is expensive. I cannot remember the last time we sold a bag here. Many people are buying the maize from vendors.”
However, at Zikomo Stage near Che Mussa Admarc Market, vendors were selling maize like hot cakes. Within a few minutes two customers came to buy the maize. One customer bought nine bags at once.
The vendor, James Mula, said he reduced the price because there was over supply on the market.
“I had 300 bags of maize, but since reducing the price I have sold all the bags within three days,” he said.
In Blantyre’s populous Ndirande Township, vendors are selling the grain at K10 000 per bag. In Ngabu and Dyeratu in Chikwawa District, vendors are selling the grain at K10 500 and K10 000 respectively.
In Salima, maize is going at K9 000. In Lilongwe the price is K11 000 while in other areas within the city the price is K10 000.
According to economic experts, the reduction of maize price on the informal market will put Admarc in a fix as it has struggled so far to sell its maize.
In an interview on Monday, Admarc spokesperson Agnes Ndovi said the corporation will not reduce the price.
“We have not reduced the amount from K12 500. This is [our price] we are selling maize at,” she said.
When Weekend Nation asked Ndovi if the maize might end up rotting in Admarc warehouses, she simply said: “No, it will not”.
But Civil Society Network on Agriculture (CisaNet) national director Tamani Nkhono-Mvula on Thursday urged government to consider reducing the price of maize and expressed worry that some of the commodity might end up rotting in Admarc markets.
“We are aware that Admarc is sticking to the current price to try to recover the cost of buying the maize. However, our worry is that this maize will rot since people are not buying it.
“If Admarc was anticipating that vendors or the informal market will run out of supply soon, then the reduction of maize by vendors is a clear signal that there is more maize out there. The best Admarc can do it to respond to market forces of demand and supply,” he said. n