State produce trader, the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC), has due to its incompetence allowed about 1 265 metric tonnes—bought using a K253.1 million loan from local commercial banks during the 2019/2020 harvesting season—rot under its watch.
An agriculture policy expert, Tamani Nkhono-Mvula, has since described the development as unfortunate saying if the maize had been properly taken care of it would have stayed to up to three years.
Mvula said “if that maize cannot be kept that long, it shows that Admarc is lacking capacity.”
Last week, it was revealed that part of the 5 000 metric tonnes bought by Admarc between April and June 2020 had rotten in its reserves, a development Admarc board chairperson Alexander Kusamba-Dzonzi confirmed.
According to Dzonzi, a maize audit was instituted following queries raised by some members of Parliament in April this year that some Admarc markets in Thyolo and Phalombe were selling rotten maize.
“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,” Dzonzi told The Nation on Monday.
The board chair blamed the development on technicalities saying Admarc bought the grain when its moisture content was between 20 and 24 percent, instead of the recommended 10 to 12.8 percent
“To avoid repeat of the same, we have delayed the buying of maize this season. 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,” warned Dzonzi.
Admarc intends to about 1.1 metric tonnes of maize this year.
A draft report of the audit indicates that some Admarc employees were blending discoloured maize without getting clearance from Bvumbwe Research Station on its status about human consumption acceptability levels.
“About 570MT is too rotten to be consumed even by animals while the rest can be used as animal feed,” he said.
In 2019, about 7 000MT of maize also got rotten in Admarc warehouses mainly in its Northern Region depots, a development that was revealed when the corporation appeared before then Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :