Government has given the Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) K7.5 billion to buy maize from smallholder farmers, the grain marketer said on Friday.
Briefing reporters in Blantyre, Admarc Public Relations Manager, Agnes Ndovi, who was accompanied by Acting Operations Director, Michael Mnenula, and Regional Manager, James Gausi, said Admarc will start the maize purchases Monday.
Ndovi said Admarc intends to procure a total of 30,000 metric tonnes with the money.
She said Admarc will use 337 rural markets for the exercise out of its over 700 markets countrywide.
“We will be buying the maize at K170 per kg or K8,500 per 50 kg bag. We are looking for quality maize which is not weevilled and not discoloured,” Ndovi said.
She said since the firm is targeting maize from smallholders, it has put in place measures to ensure that vendors do not take advantage of the situation.
Ndovi said every market will have a committee which will determine whether the seller is really a farmer and not a vendor.
“We don’t expect the smallholders to bring the maize in trucks. May be an oxcart but not trucks. We are targeting the poor farmers,” Ndovi said.
A couple of weeks ago President Peter Mutharika made a surprise visit to Admarc head office in Limbe where, among other things, he promised that government would give Admarc funds to buy maize from farmers.
The development came at a time there was an outcry from farmers over poor maize prices being offered by vendors which made maize production a loss making undertaking.
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