By Wezzie Gausi
The Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) wants the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) to become one of its cash cows, asking the government to allow it to be importing and supplying 50 percent of inputs under the initiative.
Admarc General Manager (GM) Rhino Chiphiko told the Agriculture and Natural Resources Cluster of Parliament in Lilongwe that only if they were allowed to have a 50 percent share in AIP imports and supplies could they start registering profit.
He bemoaned that the corporation does not make any profit at the moment.
“For us to start making profit, the government must be ready to help us in every way possible, especially when it comes to issues of AIP,” Chiphiko said.
The GM said, to demonstrate its seriousness, Admarc had already increased the number of AIP selling points, citing the 2021-22 season, when the number of selling points increased from 385 to 771 within four months.
“The government should compensate Admarc on full recovery basis [for it] to meet transportation and handing charges of AIP.
“For our institution to stand out on AIP, we need the Letter of Credit from the government for us to get funding and purchase fertilisers for the next growing season. As things stand, we are bankrupt and cannot do this programme without financial support,” Chiphiko said.
Cluster chairperson Sameer Suleman urged the government, as a shareholder in Admarc, to have a financial recovery plan for the corporation so that it could stand alone and stand competition on the market.
“The request by Admarc is an honest one and the government need to act fast if Admarc is to remain in the AIP game. I cannot overemphasise what the institution is going through; there is chaos at Admarc,” Suleman said.
Agriculture expert Tamani Nkhono Mvula said Admarc had enough infrastructure to handle the 50 percent share.
However, he said Admarc needs to partner other institutions in terms of transportation and human resources.
“I believe, given the full capacity, admarc is fully equipped to handle more than 50 percent. It is a good move if Admarc is to start making profits again,” Mvula said.