By Rebecca Chimjeka:
Agriculture and Natural Resources Parliamentary Committee members took Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) officials to task in Lilongwe on Tuesday for allowing the sale of rotten maize which the grain marketer bought in 2015.
During the meeting, which attracted National Food Reserve Agency officials, it transpired that Admarc bought 7,000 metric tonnes of maize which was rotting in grain reserves.
Admarc is reported to have sold the maize to traders who, in turn, sold it on the market.
The committee’s officials quizzed Admarc and NRFA authorities on how they handled the maize that is being sold at cheaper prices such as K100 per kilogramme (kg).
This year, the government set a minimum maize retail price of K125 per kg.
The committee’s chairperson, Welani Chilenga, cautioned Admarc to desist from selling the maize because it is unfit for human consumption.
“Selling of rotten, or as you are putting it discoloured maize, is an insult to Malawians. It was not worth selling the maize to Malawians,” Chilenga said.
In her response, Admarc acting Chief Executive Officer, Margaret Mauwa, said the maize being sold on the market was discoloured due to moisture.
“The maize that was being sold was the discoloured maize and we have since stopped selling it,” she said.
However, presenting her report, Mauwa said her institution would, with immediate effect, start buying 96,000 metric tonnes of maize locally in all Admarc depots for six months.
She said the maize would be enough to feed Malawians until the next harvest season.
Recently, Admarc spokesperson Agnes Ndovi told the local press that the parastatal was optimistic of meeting its 16,000 metric tonnes target it wants to buy using the K2.5 billion loan.
Last year, the government gave Admarc K45 billion as a bailout package to repay a loan it got for buying maize.
In 2017, the Treasury also paid K23 billion to offset a loan which Admarc got.
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