Admarc cautioned on maize procurement
An agricultural expert has warned the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) against misuse of funds and inefficiency in the maize procurement exercise expected to start soon.
Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe last week told members of Parliament that government has set aside K4 billion from the national budget for maize procurement to help cushion the country during the lean period.
Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet) Executive Director Tamani Nkhono, whilst commending government for the move and the selection of Admarc to lead in the procurement and storage of the maize, said Admarc should ensure that it executes the job responsibly to avoid spending much of the financial resources on logistics rather than the actual procurement.
Nkhono advised Admarc to ensure that the maize is stored in the community based silos where the maize was purchased to reduce transportation costs.
“The maize should stay where it has been purchased. Admarc should keep the maize in its storage structures and sell it to the same communities who produced when time comes,” said Nkhono.
Nkhono also suggested to Admarc to involve other strategic partners such as the AHL Commodities Exchange, Farmers Union of Malawi and Grain Traders Association to avoid mopping up all the remaining stock in the rural areas.
But Admarc’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Fosters Mulumbe said in an interview that Admarc is well set for the exercise and that it is keen to ensure efficiency and transparency in the whole exercise evidenced by an orientation meeting which took place at its headquarters in Blantyre for its members of staff.
Mulumbe said Admarc will not use the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) storage facilities but that it has prepared its own facilities spread across the country to keep the maize after purchase.
“We will not move the maize from the areas bought, we intend to keep it there and also ensure that the farmer benefits more, that is our priority” said Mulumbe.
Gondwe told parliament that government will give the state owned agricultural marketing agent K4 billion from the national budget and that other financial resources will come from the World Bank’s relief facility.
Based on figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, Malawi needs about 60 metric tonnes of maize to meets the food shortage.