LILONGWE—Three men were arrested this week on suspicion they were dealing in subsidised fertiliser meant for poor farmers, according to police.
Alfred Chinthere, Kanengo police spokesperson, gave kudos to residents who informed police after seeing huge amounts of fertiliser being hauled from the area.
"They alerted each other and prevented the vehicle from moving,” he said. “We came and arrested them."
The three are businessman Hassan Boti, 36, who police believe was the buyer; Fredrick Kankodo, 41, a clerk at the market where the fertiliser is stored; and Stonard Kalivini, 40, a resident of the area.
Police said Kalivini was found with 10 bags and Boti, who was driving the truck, had 67 bags. Each bag weighs 50 kilos and costs just K500 ($3.00). People have complained about the scarcity of the commodity which authorities believe is stolen and sold to businessmen.
Pres Bingu wa Mutharika, vowing to eradicate hunger, started an input subsidy program for farmers. The program, which some economists say is too expensive and unsustainable, has seen Malawi, for the first time in years, produce more food.
But as MaraPost reported on Tuesday, some 210, 000 Malawian families will need food aid worth 5, 000 tonnes between January and March this year.
Agriculture Minister Peter Mwanza says the Department of Disaster Management is currently distributing food aid to affected families, mainly in several districts of the southern part of the country.
He said strategic grain reserves are holding up to 150, 000 tonnes, while Admarc, which has pushed its 50kg maize bag price from K2,000 ($12.00) to K3,000 ($18.00) had some 30, 000 tonnes.
Other maize suppliers are keeping some 25, 000 tonnnes which Mwanza said would be enough to starve off hunger.
Thirteen million-strong Malawi needs some 2.5 million tonnes of maize each year.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment