The Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) has admitted that it is facing a number of challenges in its efforts to buy maize from smallholder farmers in the country.
Government gave Admarc K11 billion to be used in the purchase of maize across the country.
But one of the notable challenges acting Chief Executive Officer, Margaret Roka Mauwa, has highlighted is that some vendors are conniving with Admarc officials to have their maize purchased by the grain-trader, ignoring smallholder farmers.
“That is happening in some of our markets not all. We are aware of that. The moment we get such reports, we normally send our audit team to verify the rumours. If indeed it’s true, we suspend some of them on the spot,” Mauwa said.
She, however, said the problem has also hit structures which were set up to curb the malpractice.
“We have also discovered that some market committees which were put in place to ensure that procedures that were given to market officers are being adhered to are also becoming corrupt. They are conniving with some of our staff and, when we confirm that, we are dissolving the committees and suspending our staff,” Mauwa said.
She said 10 market officers have been dismissed for being involved in the malpractice.
Mauwa was speaking at a press conference Admarc jointly organised with the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) in Lilongwe yesterday.
She said using the K11 billion, Admarc will purchase 44,000 metric tonnes of maize.
At the press conference, it was also revealed that 80,000 metric tonnes of maize Admarc bought last year are going to NFRA.
NFRA Chief Executive Officer, Nasinuku Saukira, said his institution has already received 7,700 metric tonnes. With the 29,034 metric tonnes carried over from last year, he said NFRA has 36,726 metric tonnes.
Saukira, however, said the institutions will buy more maize using K5.4 billion it got from the the African Development Bank.
“We are targeting about 200,000 metric tonnes. The K5.4 billion will be used to start the process. We will need about K10 billion more to reach our target at the end of the year,” Saukira said.
He has also revealed plans to improve grain reserves to avoid rotting of maize.