Following government’s adjustment of maize price, Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) says it has bought 5 000 metric tonnes (MT) of maize from suppliers.
Last month government adjusted the price from K250 to K310 per kilogramme (kg) to attract more suppliers.
Speaking after a tour of Chilambula Admarc Depot in Lilongwe yesterday, Admarc acting chief executive officer Felix Jumbe said that since the adjustment of the prices, suppliers are selling to Admarc.
He said: “The food security situation is under control. Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and ourselves, are ensuring that we should have food.
“We have intensified timely distribution of maize to our outlets and we have employed more casual labourers for loading into trucks from our main Chilambula warehouses in Lilongwe to our markets across the country.”
Jumbe admitted that people have been scrambling for maize in some markets due to inefficiencies in the distribution and selling processes, but said they are now systematically supplying the maize to minimise the scramble.
He said Admarc will continue rationing the maize at 10kg per buyer and at K150 per kg to avoid vendors buying in bulk and reselling to Admarc at a profit.
In the next 20 to 30 days, Admarc projects to buy over 25 000MT, with Jumbe saying discussions for additional financing from government are ongoing.
He said Admarc has been holding around 12 000MT and with an additional 25 000MT to be purchased, it will have 37 000MT which will cover February and March before farmers start harvesting in April.
Going forward, Jumbe explained that Admarc plans to buy maize from farmers during the harvest period at government set minimum prices.
He said: “Admarc is planning a direct purchase of 600 000MT of maize from farmers to cover the coming lean period. We do not want to find ourselves in the situation like this where government is at the mercy of suppliers.”
According to him, the 600 000MT will cater for local Admarc markets, National Food Reserve Agency Strategic Grain Reserves and, manufacturing companies who use grain as raw material as well as for export to neighbouring nations.
Soon after the recent price adjustment, Grain Traders and Processors Association chairperson Grace Mijiga-Mhango said the move may lead to private traders increasing maize prices on the market.
Maize is an important crop to the country and as part of food, contributes about 45.2 percent to the Consumer Price Index, an aggregate basket computing inflation.