Cisanet for quick Admarc opening
Says closure affecting maize price
By Isaac Salima:
At a time prices of maize, Malawi’s staple commodity, continues rising due to low supply, agricultural policy think-tank, Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet), suggests hastened reopening of Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).
This, Cisanet says, would help contain pressure on maize prices as it would improve inflow of the commodity on the market.
In a statement signed by its chairperson Henry Chagona, Cisanet says there has been minimal information shared with the public on filling the gap created by the closure of Admarc.
“We need an organisation that fairly purchases, stores and sells diverse foods at community level and provides the sanity and stability that the agriculture sector requires.
“We want to remind the government that all citizens have a right to food; it is not a privilege,” the statement reads.
It calls on the government to safeguard the interest of Malawians in ensuring that citizens live in dignity, free from hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition.
The body says the right to food is not about charity or politics but about ensuring that all people, at all times, have their dignity respected.
It further says that with the 2022-23 growing season affected by a lack of access to synthetic inputs, it is expected that there will be underproduction of maize.
“Hence, there is a need for quick action to have systems and structures in place that should cushion the anticipated situation. This includes reinstating a functional Admarc as a priority,” the statement says.
Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale Wednesday told Parliament in Lilongwe that the government will redeem about 50,000 metric tonnes of maize which NBS Bank held as part of collateral of loans which Admarc obtained.
He said the maize is being shifted to Admarc markets to be sold at K300 per kg.
However, the government has ordered Admarc to ration the maize sell a maximum of 25kg per buyer.
Government on January 31 2023, formally retrenched about 4,000 members of staff at Admarc as part of a restructuring process.
Admarc has started advertising for some positions and is reportedly expected to recruit new staff.
Currently a 50kg bag of maize is going at around K38, 000 in most areas.