Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture on Wednesday received a petition from maize traders who are protesting the suspension of purchases of the grain by the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA).
Manganaye Kambauwa, who presented the petition to the committee’s chairperson Chidanti Malunga, said maize traders are paying huge sums of money to transporters for waiting charges, as the suspension follows a government order to divert funds meant for NFRA maize purchases to State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).
Admarc has planned to buy about 44 000MT of maize in 2017/8 in addition to the 103 000MT which it already has in stock.
“We are pleading with you the Parliamentary committee on Agriculture to bring this matter to the attention of government that they must allow us to sell whatever maize we are remaining with because we are not making money out of this,” Kambauwa said .
She was speaking when she presented the petition to Malunga who was accompanied by legislators Bon Kalindo (Mulanje south) and Allan Ngumuya (Blantyre city south).
Kambauwa said some traders have accrued over K1 million in transport costs and it would be unfair to them to sell the maize to Admarc.
Malunga assured the traders that the matter will be taken for discussion with NFRA.
NFRA chief executive officer Nasunuku Saukira said there would be two re-stocking exercises for the Strategic Grain Reserves (SGRs), one of which was 80 000 MT of maize from Admarc.
The other re-stocking, he said, would be 86 250MT of maize which the agency would buy using K5.4 billion from the government.
“The Malawi Government, through NFRA, will initially use K5.4 billion which is part of a $17 million African Development Bank loan concluded in the last part of 2016 between the Malawi Government and AfDB in order to help the government effectively respond to the 2016/17 humanitarian effort,” he said.
Apart from the loan, Saukira said the agency expects no less than K10 billion from the 2017/18 budget to complete the maize purchases.
These purchases would bring to a total of just over 200 000 MT in addition to 36 726 MT currently in the SGRs as carryover stock.
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