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Malawi cracks down on food smugglers seeking more profit

Farm and Diary produce stand where selected maize were on display. ON 05/10/2016 PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE

Malawi has tightened its border controls to stop profiteers smuggling much-needed maize out of the country in search of higher prices.

Months of drought had left more than a third of the population reliant on food aid, and the government last month invoked the Special Crops Act, which bans the export of some crops.

The government deployed soldiers to seal its porous borders with Tanzania and Zambia, and impounded trucks that are smuggling out the staple crop in pursuit of more profit. Malawi police have also been searching vehicles on roads that lead to the borders.

 The size of the trucks stopped by the police suggests that large-scale traders may be involved. Police in Chitipa detained at least 17 similar trucks carrying white maize last month, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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