By Iommie Chiwalo
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) calls for immediate investigation on the conduct of Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) which is selling the so called rotten maize yet at an exorbitant price.
In a statement released on Thursday, CDEDI regrets reports that 10 000 metric tonnes of maize at ADMARC is said to have been rotten is being ferried from Malangalanga warehouse for sale at Mponela in Dowa and Salima ADMARC depots at an exorbitant price.
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa says investigations have revealed that about 15 trucks [ranging from 10 to 15 tonnes], most of which are owned by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Members of Parliament and their close business associates started loading the maize at around 11am on Wednesday, February 22, 2023.
Namiwa has since asked President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to order his MPs
or, indeed, any other individuals, to take their hands off “the rotten maize” until a public physical inspection of the same is conducted.
“In the same vein, CDEDI demands ADMARC to produce documentary evidence from a reputable laboratory that tested the maize, and shows that it is not fit for human consumption,” he said.
He said that it is disheartening to note that the Tonse Alliance administration is playing
monkey tricks with the country’s staple food at a time Malawians need it most.
“Therefore, we beseech the Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale to invite Malawians, including us at CDEDI, to conduct a verification of the said rotten maize right in the Malangalanga warehouses. All is done in good faith knowing that there is fear of impending hunger following the messy 2022/23 Affordable Inputs Programme,”
But the grain marketer’s head of administration and human resources, Ethel Umali Zilirakhasu has told this publication that government has committed some funds to transport the commodity from reserves to depots.
She said the arrangement is there to make sure that maize is available and accessible.
Programs Officer for Centre for Social Concern, Bernard Mphepo is hoping the availability of maize in the parastatal’s depots will help lower maize prices which have skyrocketed on the local market.
Maize is now selling at more than K34, 000 per 50kilogram bag.
ADMARC is still restructuring after firing all its employees whose terminal benefits add up to MK8.9 billion. It has since started advertising for senior posts with an expectation of being back on its feet in few months to come as it is believed that it will employ additional 2000 workers.