NAMPULA Government Authorises Egg Imports From Malawi
Maputo, 19 Dec (AIM) – The Nampula provincial government, in northern Mozambique, has authorized the import of eggs from Malawi, since it could not be proved that the Malawian eggs were contraband.
In early December, the National Inspectorate of Economic Activities (INAE) seized 12,000 boxes of eggs imported from Malawi, on the grounds that they might be contraband. This caused an immediate shortage, and the price of eggs in Nampula shot up.
Consumers prefer the Malawian eggs because they are cheap. Local egg production does not meet the demand.
Prior to the INAE seizure, Mozambican eggs were selling in Nampula for 230 meticais (about 3.6 US dollars) a box – but a box of Malawian eggs cost 190 meticais. With the Malawian eggs suddenly removed from the market, the cost of a box soared to 350 meticais
INAE seized the Malawian eggs after a local poultry producer, Novos Horizontes, complained of supposedly unfair competition. Novos Horizontes, located in Rapale district, 20 kilometres from the city, is the only large scale producer of chickens and eggs in Nampula. At a stroke, INAE removed the sole competitor to Novos Horizontes, and raised the prospect of shortage of eggs over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
Cited by the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the director of the Provincial Services of Economic Activities, Jaime Chissico, announced the authorization of the Malawian eggs on Friday. He was speaking after the Secretary of State for Nampula, Mety Gondola, had met with the Nampula Association of Egg Importers.
Chissico said that the eggs confiscated by INAE will be returned to their owners, and he expected that in the next few days the price of eggs will stabilize.
INAE seized the eggs from five Mozambican importers – but only one of them could not present the documents proving that its business is legitimate, thus raising suspicions of contraband. This importer (which Chissico did not name) will be fined for operating without a licence.
The association guaranteed that the government will do all it can to speed up the import of eggs from Malawi to supply all of Nampula province. Novos Horizontes is incapable of meeting the demand since its production capacity is only 1,000 boxes of eggs a week.
The chairperson of the Association of Egg Importers, Boubacar Den, told reporters that his members had suffered losses of more than 600,000 meticais (about 9,400 US dollars, at the current exchange rate) because of the INAE seizure of their merchandise.