Parliament has expressed dismay over government’s plan to import maize ,claiming the move will further weaken the already fragile Malawi Kwacha.
Speaking in an interview chairman of the parliamentary agricultural committee, Felix Jumbe said that the move will lead to the further loss of Malawi’s forex.
“To import maize it means forex will be used and that is not health to our delapidated economy.
“The Malawi Kwacha is already losing ground to mojor currencies and we need not to import just any how,” he said.
He added that if government concentrated to buy all the maiaize locally as advised things could have been better.
“We advised them to purchase the maize locally but since they did not release funding in time prices of maize became exorbitant and they had to resort to buying the maize from othe countries,” he said.
Lately, government sent a six member delegation to the neighbouring Tanzania to identify a market for maize following revelations that locally produced maize was expensive as compared to prices being offered in the neighbouring countries.
During this financial year’s budget presentation, minister of finance and economic planning, Goodal Gondwe announced that a total of K13 billion had been designated for purchasing maize to supplement which is in stock this year.
The government arrived at the conclusion after it was hinted that the country was running a risk of experiencing famine this year due to untimely rainfall.
Irrigation and water development controller of agriculture extension services, Wilfred Lipita in an interview with the nation newspaper last monday, the day when the delegation left for the neighbouring Tanzania, said that purchasing the country’s staple food internally, could come with its own disadvantages with the main one being rocketing of prices.
Besides this, he said that prices are lower in the neighbouring countries.
“The prices of maize in Tanzania are not different from Malawi, but if we buy locally the price might jump because some traders might take advantage of the situation to speculate the prices,” he said.
Reports from Tanzania have indicated that maize is selling at K215 per kilogramme, representing a hundred percent above level of being expensive when compared to Malawi’ price which is K100 per kilogramme.
The revelations have spurred negative reaction from locals who claim that Lilongwe is not being open enough to let them know about the main reason as to why it has opted for the neighbouring.
Buying maize from Tanzania, whose prices are being acclaimedto be higher, will require logistics charges. The delegation which is currently in the East African nation, is also pocketing fatallowances from capital hill, laments the public.