Investigations carried by Malawi24 in some ADMARC depots in the northern part of Malawi show that women and children are indirectly worsening the hunger that has reportedly began hitting some parts of the country.
It has been found out that vendors are using them to buy cheap maize from ADMARC by coaxing them with money, which in most cases doesn’t go beyond MK1500 for each 50 kilogram bag.
These vendors deploy as many women and children in all ADMARC selling points across the northern region that at the end of each day, they manage to buy a minimum of about 20 50kg bags of maize.
After these intermediaries buy the maize, vendors go with the same product at the market and sell at a very expensive price that most poor Malawians cannot afford. This publication’s investigation indicates that some among such vendors come from as far as Kasungu and Nkhotakota to conduct such trade across the northern region.
One woman our reporter spoke to at one of ADMARC depots in Mzuzu city confessed to have been used in such tricks saying the trend may live on because it has been proven to be difficult for authorities to know.
“At that time they were giving us 300 kwacha and we could queue to buy maize for them. They could hire as many people especially women and children such that they could manage to go away with a lot of bags of maize at the end of the day,” she confessed.
However she was quick to claim that she stopped the malpractice after realizing that by doing so, she was committing suicide.
“I realized that I was killing myself because when I go to buy from the same vendors they charge a lot than here, so it is better to decline such offer.
“Doing so is not tricking ADMARC but ourselves so I wish my friends who are still being used should stop,” she added.
Many unwaged youth especially boys now find money to buy spirit liquor through the same trade.
One 18 year-old, Wisdom Zgambo, proudly told Malawi24 that most of the times he doubles the duty to earn more.
He said his vendor gives them MK 1,500 for each 50 kilogram bag thus he manages to bring him about four a day.
“It has become my office now. I sometimes go home with 6, 000 Kwacha per day; I really find money these days because unlike those days I now pay some bills myself,” he said.
To him, being youthful, the effect of serving vendors in such trade is out of his vocabulary.
He said his parents already have plenty of maize that may take them to mid next year hence he does not worry about that much.
Most of such intermediaries that our reporter spoke to across the northern region echoed the benefits of the business by challenging that it will be difficult for ADMARC authorities to notice. ADMARC officers in most selling points our reporter visited said they suspect foul play indeed because they usually sell maize to the same faces daily.
One official who spoke on condition of anonymity emphasized that they meet the same people everyday looking for maize and when they ask them, they answer curtly.
“Daily the same people come to buy maize here. We were already suspecting something fishy but since we do not have proof, we cannot react,” he said.
This is happening at a time ADMARC officials are also blamed for making links with vendors in selling the cheap product when the country has reportedly began being hit by hunger.