Peasant farmers who grow pigeon peas as a cash crop continue to sell their legumes to vendors because Admarc has no money to buy as the vendors have found a market in neighbouring Mozambique.
A visit to Mulanje and Mwanza borders gave an insight of the nandolo trade in Mozambique as many trucks with the nandolo queued to enter into Mozambique.
Vendors said they sell the pigeon peas at K150 per kilogram to Indians in Milanje, saying Admarc had stopped buying the produce.
This comes amid concerns that the government ordered that Admarc buys the pigeon peas at K230 per kilogram to help powerful and influential traders with high connections to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Chairperson of Nandolo Association of Malawi was saddened that the government set aside K4.8 billion to buy 14 tonnes of nandolo but the scheme has only benefitted influential and powerful traders not ordinary peasant farmers.
Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Osborne Tsoka said the government has no control over legumes trade, saying the traders who sell the produce in Mozambique could be taken to task if they fail to pay taxes in the country.
Admarc chief executive officer Margaret Roka Mauwa, a team from her office accompanied by parliament committee on Agriculture officials on Monday visited Mwanza and Neno to appreciate reports that Admarc had stopped buying the legumes.
“We get money from the government on this project. As soon as we are funded, we will resume buying the nandolo,” she said.
She assured people that the government has not abandoned the project and dismissed reports that Admarc was buying the pigeon peas from highly connected traders.