Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) has set a target to buy at least 20 percent of the total maize tonnage which Malawi is expected to harvest this year.
Admarc Acting Chief Executive Officer, Felix Jumbe, made the remarks when he was asked to explain how Admarc intends to safeguard this year’s maize yield following an announcement by the Ministry of Agriculture that the country’s maize production is expected to increase by nine percent.
“We are buying as much as we can to ensure that 20 percent of the estimated production is under our roof. We are soliciting funds and designing modalities on how we can deal with real farmers on the ground,” he said.
The Ministry’s latest crop estimates project maize output of 3.7 million metric tonnes this year compared to 3.4 million tonnes last year.
Following the ministry’s announcement, some stakeholders, including the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, urged Admarc to secure the maize before it lands in the hands of vendors.
“Admarc should start borrowing from commercial banks so that it can start buying maize as soon as May. We want Admarc to be more proactive in purchasing and regulating the flow of maize on the market to safeguard our farmers,” Vice-Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Ulemu Chilapondwa, said.
Chilapondwa said there was need to change some laws and mandates of Admarc so that the parastatal returns into a full statutory corporation to ensure its smooth operations.
But in reaction, Jumbe said Admarc has started working on finances to ensure that it buys maize directly from farmers and not vendors.
During the Midterm Budget review presentation, Minister of Finance, Joseph Mwanamvekha, allocated an additional K2.2 billion to Admarc to cater for early maize purchase.
This has pushed the state grain trader’s allocation for this financial year from K7 billion to K9.2 billion.