State grain trader Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) workers in the Northern Region have said they are worried with the bleak future of the institution.
They expressed the concern at a meeting in Mzuzu on Thursday during a meeting with acting chief executive officer Felix Jumbe.
The workers said time has come for Admarc to reclaim its business after years of poor performance.
But Jumbe told the visibly anxious workers that donors also want Admarc to do well, saying there is a proposal for the grain trader to go commercial.
“Admarc should reclaim its lost business position. It has been a national aggregator of all smallholder crops in this country. So, as a vision we need to leave that past to become the aggregator of everything, to become the instrument for structured marketing.
“People have been crying for a structured marketing, yet it has been there. The warehousing capacity for Admarc is about 330 square metres the whole country, so it is a platform where every crop from smallholder should be there. We are visualising Admarc to reclaim the national aggregation, to process these crops, some would go into the industrial markets,” he said.
Jumbe further said they would also want to see in the future that Admarc is the one supplying maize to companies like Chibuku and not the companies going on the ground doing the same job that Admarc can do.
“The reason being, Admarc needs to be the intercessor between the farmers and the economic world. The farmer has no knowledge about the markets it is us who have the knowledge at Admarc. You have seen and know when we say buy the maize at K150 per kilogramme, but one get down to buy the maize at K70, its only Admarc that can buy from them at K150, the recommended minimum price.
He said farmers have been losing almost 50 percent of the market price every year to vendors. So we would want to uplift everything to the platform and anybody who is now interested in commodity trade, they should come on this platform,” he added.
Jumbe also said Admarc will be importing farm inputs from the manufactures as one way of ensuring that the commodities are affordable in the country.
On his part, Admarc regional manager for the North James Gausi said they were looking foward to ensuing that the plans outlined are implemented so that Admarc lives to its billing again.
Admarc was created in 1971 as a statutory corporation with the mandate to, among others, market agricultural produce and in puts, facilitate the development of the smallholder agricultural subsector and also attend to social obligations on behalf of government.
Until 1987, Admarc was the sole buyer of smallholder produce, but in 2004, it was incorporated as a limited liability company with government owning 99 percent of the shares.