State-owned Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) is today expected to start buying farm produce from small-scale farmers nationwide.
In an interview yesterday, Admarc board chairperson Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi said they have set aside K210 billion to buy 1.1 million metric tonnes (MT) of maize and K50 billion to purchase 110 000MT of legumes.
He said the State grain trader will start buying farm produce in the Southern Region in areas where crop moisture content is below 13 percent at prices which government has set for the 2021 harvesting season.
Said Kusamba Dzonzi: “Admarc’s opening of its depots is determined by the moisture content in the specific crops we are buying. Our quality assurance guidelines indicate that we can only buy any crop only if its moisture content is between 10 and 13 percent.
“But most of the crops are around 21 to 23 percent. We will start buying from the Southern Region.”
Asked where the corporation has secured the funds, Kusamba Dzonzi said Admarc will “soon” hold a press briefing where it will disclose the source of the money.
In separate interviews, Farmers Union of Malawi president Frighton Njolomole and agriculture expert Tamani Nkhono- Mvula welcomed Admarc’s decision to open its markets today.
They expressed optimism that the opening of Admarc markets will enable small-scale farmers to sell their farm produce at a reasonable price.
Said Njolomole: “Since Admarc will be buying at government minimum farm gate prices, it will also help to stop vendors from exploiting the farmers.”
He advised farmers to keep enough farm produce for consumption.
On his part, Nkhono Mvula observed that Admarc has started buying farm produce at the right time when farmers have just started harvesting and most of them want to take their produce to the market.