Consumer Association Boss Kapito trashes Illovo Sugar’s assertions on sugar scarcity

By Tawonga Moyo

Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) Executive Director, John Kapito, has described Illovo Sugar’s assertions on reasons of the commodity’s scarcity on the market as a joke and an insult to consumers.

At a presser held in Blantyre on Friday, Managing Director for Illovo Sugar, Lekani Katandula, said Cyclone Freddy that hit the country last year has had an impact on the firm’s sugar output, resulting in the scarcity.

Katandula said, unlike last year from September to February, when the company produced 119,000 tonnes of sugar, this year they have only managed to produce 77,000 tonnes of the commodity.

Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) Executive Director, John Kapito

In an interview on Monday, Kapito said sugar scarcity is not a new problem as Malawians have experienced it before and, as such, the sugar company could have found ways of solving the problem.

“I don’t find their reasons valuable but an insult to consumers. Cyclone Freddy is a year old and for them to still attribute it to the recent scarcity of the commodity is a sign of arrogance on their part. They are ashamed to admit their failure,” said Kapito.

A visit to Chipiku Stores in Mzuzu on Monday was met by empty shelves of sugar whilst at Sana Stores, consumers were scrambling for the few packets left on the shelf, with many clearly expressing their frustrations regarding the problem.

One of the consumers, Dominique Luhanga, who resides in Chiputula, Mzuzu said as a consumer he is greatly affected by scarcity of the commodity and thinks the problem is politically motivated.

“Sugar is one of the commodities we rely on. I am of the view that politics is having a role because government is trying so hard to ensure the commodity is found on the market and this might be a ploy to frustrate government’s efforts,” said Luhanga.

Earlier on, Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe assured Malawians that his ministry had engaged Illovo Sugar Malawi to iron out issues behind the sugar crisis in the country.