Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) has pleaded with parliament to authorize loans for the
cash-strapped state grain trader, saying it is struggling to operate and cannot but maize and other produce on time.
Admarc acting chief executive officer Margaret Roka Mauwa told the Budget and Finance committee of parliament that the only way out of the cash problems is for an injection of a loan.
“The financial problems are really affecting our organization negatively,” said Mauwa.
She said: “It is unfortunate that Admarc is where it is because of the conditions put by donors and we usually use borrowed money to function. Why doesn’t Parliament allow Admarc to have loan authorisation bills to work perfectly.
“The interest rates we are charged from the loans we get from commercial banks cannot make us survive in business.”
Vice chairman of Budget and Finance Committee John Chikalimba said parliament should be able to authorize the loans for Admarc in order to make it a viable and effective produce market.
“If we authorize loans for water boards, Escom and other statutory corporations, what should stop us from authorizing a loan for Admarc. We are ready to do that,” he said.
He said Admarc needs to be empowered to buy maize and other produce from farmers who rely on the state run produce organization.
Chikalimba said failure by Admarc to buy the maize leaves farmers to vendors who buy the produce at very low prices.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe told Parliament that government guaranteed Admarc’s loans in 2015/16 financial year due to the perceived maize shortage in the country at that time, but the maize was not sold due to donations of the grain and other food stuffs and also because the maize sold in Admarc depots was more expensive compared to vendors’ prices.