Written By Brian Kanyenda
Government says Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC), is scheduled to start procuring maize produce from farmers on 8 July this year.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Kondwani Nankhumwa disclosed this in parliament when he was responding to a question posed by Dowa East legislator Richard Chimwendo.
Chimwendo, the Malawi Congress Party Member of Parliament quizzed government as to when will farmers start selling their maize to Admarc.
He expressed concern over the delay to the opening of the country’s main grain trader, saying this will give room to some dubious vendors to unscrupulously rob from smallholder farmers by offering lower prices.
Chimwendo asked the Minister to explain to Malawians as to what is prohibiting Admarc to start procuring maize from farmers.
“Earlier this year parliament allocated resources to Admarc for procurement of maize from farmers but up to now farmers are not selling their maize to Admarc, yet this is July.
“With this we are creating a loophole to dubious vendors to steal from our farmers,” said Chimwendo.
Responding to the question Nankhumwa said that government has given the country’s maize sole trader to access a loan from ECO Bank for the commencement of the exercise.
“Government through Admarc has secured a loan, this has been done because parliament has not yet approved the budget so we could not wait for that.
“It has never happened before, government has been buying maize in September, October but for now will start buying as early as July. That is an improvement government is making,” said Nankhumwa.
However, the minister failed to disclose the amount of a loan Admarc will get from the bank for the process.