Salima Sugar Malawi has started repackaging sugar from its 50 kilogramme (kg) bags into one-kilogramme packets for sale in local retail shops.
The development comes at a time when there is an apparent shortage of sugar in local retail shops that has pushed up the retail price of sugar from K2 000 to K2 500.
Salima Sugar Company Limited executive chairperson Wester Kosamu and Minister of Trade and Industry Sosten Gwengwe confirmed the development with Weekend Nation in a separate interview on Thursday.
Kosamu said the company, which until now preferred to distribute in bulk to wholesalers in rural communities, resorted to repackage the sugar to respond to the shortage that has rocked the local market but stressed that the company will continue supplying the local market in the long-term.
In a WhatsApp response, he said: “This new distribution model will be in full force starting from next season. Malawians with interest and capacity to become our distributors will be given contracts so long they apply.
“Our Sugar will be evenly distributed across the country. We are launching our selling depot at Siyasiya Trading Centre in Salima to facilitate the distribution process.”
Kosamu, however, stressed that the sugar at its disposal may not be enough to stem the supply gap on the market.
In a separate interview, Gwengwe said the government opted to switch to retail distribution because the old distribution model has not helped Malawians.
He said: “The new model will aim to have more of its sugar on shelves in local retail shops. We want to retain our sugar surplus status at all costs.”
The shortage stirred panic and is believed to have triggered the price hike.
Ministry of Trade and Industry spokesperson Mayeso Msokera in an earlier interview said the government is yet to establish the main cause of sugar scarcity.
On his part, Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc managing director Lekani Katandula maintained that they have not increased the price of their sugar.