International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has called on Malawian government to either abolish the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) or reform the institution if the country is to end hunger.
IFPRI made the call based on preliminary finds and recommendations made under the Zero Hunger and Malnutrition Strategic Review (ZHMSR) aimed at identifying key challenges the country faces on to eliminate hunger and malnutrition by 2030.
“As a country we are on the right course towards ending hunger by 2030, but there is need for political will to reform Admarc, which is one of the important agencies if Malawi is to realize this aspiration,” said Grace Kumchulesi, a researcher at IFPRI.
The report now suggests that a proper role for Admarc in the functioning of the country’s food and agriculture markets.
“Any profit orientation on the part of Admarc should be challenged, the organization’s primary role today should be as part of the country’s food system and not that of broad agricultural development despite its name, but if it (Admarc) is to be retained as a mechanism by which the Malawian government can intervene in food markets, it (the government) must invest in reform and transparency.” reads the report in part.
The report also notes that it will be difficult for most Malawians to achieve food security and assure the nutritional well being of their children through subsistence farming.
“What is required for Malawians in the longer term is an expansion in attractive employment in the non-agricultural sectors that will involve movement away from agriculture sectors for many households.” The report suggests.
A spate of alleged dubious activities at Admarc like the Malawi-Zambia maize procurement deal, for example, have in recent history tarnished the grain marketer’s image.
Admarc has also been blamed for lack of proper timing to procure crops from farmers which has led to the exploitation of smallholder farmers by vendors.
Though the ministry of Finance is yet to release this year’s Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Report (Mvac), reports indicate more Malawians are likely to face hunger this year, than those who faced food shortages last year.