The Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) is seeking loan from the Export Development Fund (EDF) with guarantee from government to finance the purchase of maize and cash crops from small-scale farmers.
Admarc acting chief executive officer Felix Jumbe said in an interview last week the State produce trader is seeking about K100 billion capital injection to revamp itself into a serious business entity as Treasury capital injection alone would not be enough.
He said:”At the moment, government has committed to support Admarc to secure maize which is for food security purposes. For a start, government has given
us K5 billion but there is an allocation of K9.2 billion up to June, thereafter, we will have to negotiate for more funding.
“Government has also allowed us to have financial arrangements with EDF for buying cash crops, including maize, which was not allowed under the EDF for commercial purposes.
“This will ensure Admarc has buffer stock in terms of commercial maize hoarding which even the government would be able to buy back at an appropriate time.”
With Admarc’s plan to buy 600 000 metric tonnes (MT) this year, Jumbe said the remaining tonnage of about 150 000 MT will be sold to private companies that use maize as a raw material for production.
There was no immediate reaction from both the EDF and Treasury, but last week President Peter Mutharika ordered Treasury to immediately support Admarc with special funding needs for the buying of farm produce.
However, the EDF has also recently provided about K8 billion credit capital to the Malawi Enterprises Development Fund (Medf) for youth and women loans initiative the President recently launched.
Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament chairperson Sosten Gwengwe said there is no problem if the move is in favour of majority of Malawians and if the funds will be paid back to the EDF.
On Tuesday, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Francis Kasaila announced farm produce minimum prices with maize pegged at K200 per kilogramme.
Meanwhile, Admarc has started buying maize in the Southern Region with the Central and Northern region markets scheduled to open on April 20 and April 27, respectively.
According to the First Round of Agricultural Production Survey, there is an estimated 8.8 percent increase in maize production from 3 393 924 metric tonnes in the 2018/2019 growing season to 3 691 866 in the 2019/2020 season.