Admarc probes theft at markets


Two weeks after Malawi News uncovered how consumers are being cheated on the quantities of maize they buy from Admarc markets, the parastatal grain supplier has launched an investigation into the malpractice.

In our investigation two weeks ago, we revealed how sales officers in some Admarc markets in Blantyre, Zomba and Chiradzulu tampered with the scales they use to weigh maize for the buyers.

We found that in some cases, buyers walk away with half of the quantity they have paid for.


Now Admarc has launched a probe, according to the corporation’s Chief Executive Officer Foster Mulumbe.

He told Malawi News this week that they dispatched a team of auditors and investigators immediately after our story was published.

“We sanctioned a monitoring team and our internal auditors to visit the markets to carry out an investigation. I expect them to come up with a report soon on what is happening,” Mulumbe said.


For our story, we pitched our scale –which we hired from a Malawi Bureau of Standard certified firm –a few metres away from the selling points and re-weighed the maize which people had just bought.

The buyers we engaged thought they were carrying maize ranging from 10 to 20 kilogrammes but after we weighed the staple grain they had bought, most of them were taking home almost half of what they paid for.

Most Malawians rely on Admarc markets for the staple grain as it sells the maize at a far cheaper price than the parallel market.

On the private market, maize is selling between K260 and K300 per kilogramme. However, Admarc sells it at a subsidised price of K110 per kilogramme, hence people thronging to the corporation’s markets.

Early this month, the Competitions and Fair Trade Commission (CFTC) also admitted getting complaints of unfair trading practices by private traders as well as at Admarc markets.

In its statement dated February 11, 2016, CFTC said some of the practices included use of incorrect measures or weights with a view to deceive or mislead consumers, false representation regarding the weight of maize sold to consumers and charging excessive prices which are exploitative to consumers.

CFTC conducted the inspections in Mzimba, Nkhata Bay, Kasungu, Lilongwe, Dowa, Mchinji, Ntcheu, Balaka, Mangochi, Machinga, Zomba, Mwanza, Blantyre and Thyolo.

The organisation inspected over 100 selling points in these districts where it noted that there was a lot of maize in the hands of private traders.

Admarc has come under heavy criticism for failing to supply adequate staple grain to Malawians hit by food shortages, leading to ugly scenes in its markets such as sleepovers and congestion.

Close to three million people are facing food shortage in Malawi as a result of the dry spell and floods that hit the country last growing season.

The situation is likely to worsen this year as the country is also experiencing dry spell.

An assessment of crop harvest by the Ministry of Agriculture estimates that there will be a decline this year as well.

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