Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza has disclosed that State grain trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) has 9 300 metric tonnes (MT) of maize in stock.
This revelation is an indication of the true picture of maize availability at Admarc depots where ordinary Malawians have been queuing overnight to buy the grain which in most cases has not been available.
Presenting a ministerial statement on the food situation in the country in Parliament on Monday, Chiyembekeza denied reports that he said there was about 50 000MT of maize with Admarc, but that it was in the process of procuring the amount.
In November, Admarc had 59 428 MT of maize before sales, half of which was bought from Zambia with loans obtained from various commercial banks.
About 49 000MT of the maize was sold to the public while about 1 000MT was sold to public institutions like hospitals, schools and prisons.
“As of 9 February 2016, Admarc had a maize stock of 9 221MT out of which about 5 000 was distributed to the Southern Region, about 2 000 to the Central Region and the rest to the Northern Region,” Chiyembekeza said.
The minister explained that there was high demand for Admarc maize because it was selling at K110 per kilogramme (kg) compared to K240 per kg on the open market.
“In view of the declining maize stocks at Admarc, we are securing a second lot, about 50 500MT from within Malawi and Zambia and this maize will be distributed around the country,” he said.
Government has since denied reports that it has not paid the Zambian government agencies selling maize to Malawi and that the maize has not started trickling into the country.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe insisted that K1.7 billion was paid two to three months ago for the purchase.
Admarc imported maize in July last year because the parastatal started buying the grain from the market late due to lack of funds.