Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera has described the recent lifting of the ban on maize exportation by President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika as ill-timed.

Chakwera said this during a media briefing held at MCP headquarters in the capital Lilongwe beamed live on Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) Televsion.
In his speech, Chakwera said the ban should have been lifted earlier.

“My fellow Malawians, while we applaud the lifting of the ban, we would like to say that the ban itself was ill-timed and ill-advised. It clearly showed that we have a president who is insensitive, callous and unconcerned about the suffering of Malawians in general and our poor farmers in particular. Why do I say this?

“This lifting of the ban should not have been made end October 2017 after vendors and business connected to DPP have robbed poor farmers of their maize at very low prices only to resell it at the very high prices upon the ban being lifted,” said Chakwera.

He added: “Poor farmers desperate to provide for their families were forced to sell their maize for prices between K30 and K50 per kg during the subsistence of the ban as it was perceived there was no market for maize. Right now, the price of maize has steadily increased, thereby enabling middlemen to make astronomical and obscene windfall profits. If the ban had been lifted earlier, say in June/July this would have ensured and assured a ready market for our farmer thus pushing the maize price up and in the process benefitting our poor farmers. The long ban only serves to benefit the middlemen and not the general public. This is sad and unfortunate. We hope not to see a repeat of this next year, if the government survives up to next year.

“We also hope that the lifting of the ban is well calculated to avoid the 2003 situation in which maize was sold outside the country leaving Malawians with nothing to eat leading to thousands of direct and indirect avertable deaths. We do not want our people to go through what they went through in 2003 season.”

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