Admarc chief against split


Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) Acting Chief Executive Officer, Felix Jumbe, has said splitting Admarc into two would not help bring back the institution to its lost glory.

Speaking in Lilongwe on Friday during a conference organised by the Centre for Social Concern to lobby the Agriculture Committee of Parliament to support the Right to Food Bill, Jumbe said splitting the firm into Commercial and Social Admarc would only bring in more problems than envisaged.

Over the past years, Admarc has been registering loses year-in, year-out due to among other things, buying produce at a higher price and offering it at a low price as the firm fulfills its social function.


This, coupled with deep rooted corruption at the institution which has seen staff members conniving with unscrupulous traders to profiteer from the institution, has thrown the reputation of the institution into disarray.

But Jumbe said correcting the situation at Admarc should begin with reengineering the systems and not splitting the institution into two.

“I discovered that the functional review recommendation to split Admarc was done by a consultant who was short of understanding of how things work. So in his narrow view, he started putting social and commercial. But I want to tell you that businesses deliver both social and commercial functions.


“Admarc just has to operate in a commercial model and the one that is holding the social responsibility is government to the citizens. And we are the implementers of those social responsibilities in a business model. So you cannot have in the same business model being used as a NGO and in the same platform being used as a commercial entity. There is no such a thing as a social function, exclusive of a social function,” Jumbe said.

He noted that what is crucial is to allow Admarc operate as a commercial entity and that where government wants the institution to play a social function, the government should be ready to pay for the difference that Admarc would lose in the process.

Jumbe said Admarc has the potential to burn into a cash cow for government, if it is allowed to recapitalise and operate efficiently.

“We don’t want any bailout from government. Admarc is capable of making money on its own. But what we are asking government is the need to recapitalise,” Jumbe said.

Centre for Social Concern Director, Father James Ngahy, said Admarc has a critical role in ensuring country’s food security; hence, reduce poverty for all Malawians.

He said studies by his institution have revealed that Admarc, as a grain marketer, fails to secure enough maize for the population thereby promoting speculations of continued food insecurity nationwide; hence, continued poverty.

“Admarc is also lacking the necessary capacity to buy the crops from smallholder farmers at a fair price. Every year vendors take charge of buying crops from farmers at a price below farm gate prices. This is exacerbating increased level of poverty.

“The same farmers who sell their crops, mainly maize, at a very low price during harvest season, are the very ones who are to buy it back from vendors at a very high price during rain or planting season,” Ngahy said.

He said a random survey conducted by Centre for Social Concern has revealed that most of the Admarc depots are not buying crops due to unavailability of funds.

“CfSC recommends depoliticising Admarc in order to improve its performance; otherwise, Malawians will continue to wallow in abject poverty as a few advantaged people take advantage of the situation. Admarc must be run by professionals.

Agriculture Committee of Parliament Chairperson, Sameer Suleiman, said his committee will push for the passing of the Right to Food Bill in Parliament.

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