LILONGWE—There’s little that could be done to control high maize prices, says Agriculture, Water and Irrigation Minister Peter Mwanza.
"Apart from market forces of demand and supply, prices are also influenced by costs of transportation, storage and market speculation," Mwanza told parliament
He said it wouldn’t be fair to claim that ADMARC was charging higher prices than maize retailers.
Mwanza was responding to a question raised by Uladi Mussa (Salima South) who said maize prices at ADMARC, a quasi-government organisation, were in some cases even higher than at private retailers.
Mussa said poor people couldn't afford the high cost of this staple food.
But Mwanza said the prices had jumped from around K16 per kg in June 2011 to K90.18 per kilogramme by January 2012 yet ADMARC was selling its maize at K60 per kilogramme.
The minister said ADMARC was filling a void left by retailers in rural areas because of high transport costs but still the corporation had lower prices.
Mwanza also commented on emergency relief, saying since December 2011, the government withdrew from strategic reserves 4, 890 metric tons of maize for free distribution of which 3 437 has already been distributed to parts of the most affected districts of Blantyre rural, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Zomba, Nsanje, Chiradzulu, Ntcheu, Balaka and Phalombe.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment