Agricultural Development Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) has assured farmers in the country that it will continue purchasing crop produce particularly maize, until the grain reserves reach the targeted 217, 000 metric tonnes by August.
Jumbe assures farmers
The assurance comes against the background that some farmers in the country are being denied access to sell their maize to ADMARC depots on allegations that the grain trader does not have enough money to buy the produce from them.
ADMARC Chief Executive Officer, Felix Jumbe clarified that ADMARC has enough money to purchase the crop.
However, Jumbe said the corporation is just managing the system of replenishment by taking stock of the expenses, adding that there is overload on the market because of too many farmers are flocking to their markets.
“It’s not necessarily having money to buy. For example, depending on the size of the market, K3 million can only buy 15,000 metric tonnes and after buying we take stock of the expenses and supply again. To develop that system and work efficiently, sometimes the replenishment may take long.
“Everybody is surprised that we are buying maize in May and they think that after this first purchase then that’s the end; hence, they are coming in large numbers to sell the maize. Because of that the system of replenishment is taking too long,” said Jumbe.
Jumbe said the corporation is also looking at the quality of maize being purchased which can be preserved for a long time at the National Food Reserve Agency (NRFA), noting that ADMARC is only buying maize which has a moisture content of 13% below.
He said ADMARC is also buying other crop produce such as sunflower, soya as well as cotton.
Jumbe added that the corporation exhausted the first K3 billion which was allocated to ADMARC, saying they will complete the other K2 billion in the next three weeks.
He said: “The change in ADMARC’s buying calendar has rescued the farmers from making losses through selling of maize to vendors. The buying price for maize this year is K200 and we have had instances where farmers have been selling at as low as K60 which is K60 billion loss per year.”
Jumbe also said ADMARC needs 240,000 metric tonnes of maize to save the country during the lean period, saying currently ADMARC has 13,000 metric tonnes.
However, Jumbe was upbeat that in the next two weeks, ADMARC will have 30,000 metric tonnes of maize.
Meanwhile, Farmers Union of Malawi President, Frighton Njolomole expressed disappointment with how ADMARC is failing to buy maize, saying they are not fulfilling the promise by President Professor Peter Mutharika that ADMARC should start buying maize from April through August.