Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Agricultural Development Corporation, Roka Mauwa has warned all Admarc unit market officials engaging themselves in some corrupt market schemes when buying maize in Admarc depots of facing immediate dismissal.
This comes as government has pumped in another K5 billion on top of the initial K6 billion for Admarc to continue purchasing maize grain from smallholder farmers. A further K10 billion is in the pipeline.
The grain is being bought at K170 per kilogram. Currently, around 23,000 metric tons have been purchased.
However, the process has been marred with reports that there are some unscrupulous schemes happening in some Admarc markets. In the schemes, some Admarc officials are said to be conniving with vendors and other dealers to be selling maize to Admarc.
This is reportedly hindering some smallholder farmers to access the market and has not gone unnoticed by Admarc management.
“Whenever we get such reports, we send our audit team to go and verify the rumors. When justified, those involved are suspended on the spot. So far we have suspended 10 officials but this is not the end, as long as somebody also violates procedures; we will take action,” Mauwa told journalists on Tuesday in Lilongwe.
She, however, said one of the unfortunate things is that some market committees that were instituted at the start of the buying campaign were also being involved in the malpractice.
“These committees are there to help ensure that the buying procedures that were given to the unit market officers are being adhered to.
“This is working in some markets, but in others; these same committees have also become corrupt. They are the ones who are also conniving with some of our staff. Yet again, where we verify this we disband the committee,” she said.
She said the process of buying maize is a government initiative to support the smallholder farmers whom vendors were stealing from by offering them low prices.
According to her, anyone not adhering to buying instructions is sabotaging government programmes and will not have a place in her organization.
As a preventive measure she said, management has been holding meetings with unit market officers to emphasize on the issue of adhering to the purchasing procedures.
Also, she revealed that the market unit officers are being required to sign a committal statement declaring that they will be following the required buying procedures.
Currently, Admarc has a carryover stock of about 103, 000 metric tons and 80 000 metric tons of it will be transferred to the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to be part of a Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR).
This means Admarc will still be able to buy maize as it has a storage space as it has a 400 000 metric tons holding capacity.
“The other determining factor to continue purchasing maize will be the availability of resources. We however are urging smallholder farmers to continue bringing quality maize based on the specifications that we have given our unit market officers.
Executive Director for NFRA, Nasinuku Saukila in his remarks said at the end of the 2015 – 2016 fiscal year, NFRA in silos had 29 034 metric tons of maize and currently has 37 000 metric tons. This year, he said his organization would undertake two re-stocking exercises to raise the figure to approximately 200 000 metric tons.
The first is the receipt of the 80 000 metric tons from Admarc and secondly; the procurement of 86 000 metric tons from the private sector through National Competitive Bidding.
Saukila said NFRA has taken appropriate steps to ensure that the quality of the storage facilities is not compromised.
“Two years ago the European Union supported the Malawi government to rehabilitate four silos which were in bad shape. This gave us back a 20 000 storage capacity. Currently, we have reasonable facilities of close to 120 000 metric tons storage.
“We also have a budget for all the warehouses, the metallic silos in Mzuzu, Luchenza and Mangochi and what remains is to look for finances. All this is to ensure we remain responsive to the needs of the country in terms of maintaining quality storage facilities,” he said.
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