06:21 pm - Tuesday 13 November 2018

Malawi Losing US$50m due to Illegal Exports

By Amalawi - Wed Oct 15, 4:32 pm

Malawi: Malawi’s Minister of Industry and Trade Joseph Mwanamvekha has disclosed that the country’s agro-based industry is losing about K20bn, equivalent to about US$50m, every year to illegal exports of produce.

According to the minister this is a worrisome trend for a country whose almost 80% of foreign exchange income is derived from agriculture as the amount being lost is enough to fund a full government department for a whole year.

According to the minister the problem has gone out of hand because most farmers are not aware of the existence of structured markets where they can sell their produce such as commodity exchanges.

Illegal exportation of agriculture produce is done in various ways including smuggling and failure by traders to remit tax on exports, the minister told reporters in Lilongwe when he toured Auction Holdings Limited Commodities Exchange trade house.

Tractor Farming in Mulanje

Tractor Farming in Mulanje

To try to curb the problem, Mr Mwanamvekha said the government has introduced a policy being implemented in liaison with the Reserve Bank and the Malawi Revenue Authority to stop renewal of export licenses for traders that do not produce evidence of that they remitted to the country the foreign currency earned from their previous agriculture commodity exports.

“We’re concerned about this and we are doing something about it. Most these traders buy produce from farmers direct from the field. So we have made it a point that any trader seeking renewal of their export licenses must produce evidence of their previous foreign exchange earnings remitted to the country”.

Mwanamveka said the government will embark on a national campaign to educate farmers on the need sell their produce through formal markets.


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  1. Strict control is what s missing! this is what seems to be the problem with a lot of Malawi’s systems! Licences should be issued for limited periods of time, and strict checks should be imposed onto what the recpients of the licenses are doing with the license and anyone who behaves outside the rules governing that license should be removed from the list.

    Be very clear how one can get licenses. It is also the truth that there are goods that Malawi could sell to the outside world but education amongst Malawian business owners is very limited,teh ministry shouldhelp & educate people. I will give you an example straight way; honey in Europe, Malawi would make billions of money from this if only you could help with the fomalities that a country needs to get onto these markets; but one meets with a wall each time one tries, the respective Malawi embassies are so apparthetic its unbeliveable! so we are losing money not only via these mismanaged avenues on already issued licenses but also on a vast sea of untapped markets which the Trade and Indury ministry should help Malawi to access.

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