GOVT BUYS 1265 MT OF MAIZE & DUMPS IT ROT AS MALAWIANS DIE OF HUNGER
About 1 265.5 metric tonnes (MT) of maize , which State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) bought during the 2019/20 harvesting season, has rotten in its reserves.
In an interview yesterday, Admarc board chairperson Alexander Kusamba- Dzonzi said the rotten maize was part of the 5 000MT bought between April and June 2020 using a K253.1 million loan it obtained from local commercial banks.
H e s a i d Ad m a r c instituted a maize audit following queries raised by some members of Parliament in April this year that some Admarc markets in Thyolo and Phalombe were selling rotten maize.
Said Kusamba-Dzonzi: “I followed up the issue and instituted an audit for maize at Charterland in Blantyre to be audited as the purported bad maize was allegedly coming from this depot. The draft results of the audit show that 1 265.5 metric tonnes of maize, which was bought with the borrowed money,was discovered to have been discoloured.”
The board chair said the draft report further revealed that some Admarc employees were blending discoloured maize without getting clearance from Bvumbwe Research Station on its status about human consumption acceptability levels.
He said about 570MT is too rotten to be consumed even by animals while the rest can be used as animal feed.
Asked what contributed to the rotting of the maize, Kusamba-Dzonzi said Admarc bought the grain when its moisture content was between 20 and 24 percent, adding the State produce trader delayed the buying of maize this season to avoid a repeat of the same.
“The board currently is waiting to get the final audit report to act on its final findings, but it is likely that strong disciplinary action will be taken as this act happened with the full knowledge of the management,” he warned.
In a separate interview, Admarc acting chief executive officer Dhelisile Matanda-Phiri confirmed the development, saying it happened because the maize was bought when its moisture content was higher than the recommended 10 to 12.8 percent.
Commenting on the matter, agriculture pol icy expert Tamani Nkhono Mvula said it is unfortunate that Admarc is losing maize that was bought with borrowed money.
He said: “Admarc does not have the capacity in terms of human resource and I don’t think they have a good storage capacity. If maize is properly taken care of, it can stay up to three years. If that maize cannot be kept that long, it shows that Admarc is lacking capacity.”
He said Admarc should strengthen its capacity if it is going to be a liable company that serves the country’s farming community effectively.
In 2019, about 7 000MT of maize also got rotten in Admarc warehouses mainly in its Northern Region depots. The development was revealed when the corporation appeared before then Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture.
This year, Admarc plans to buy about 1.1MT of maize.