The Agriculture Committee of Parliament has challenged Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) to root out corruption for it to be supported with its multi-billion kwacha recapitalisation.
The committee’s chairperson Sameer Suleman said this in an interview on Friday on the sidelines of the lobbying meeting of the Right to Food Bill and the role of Admarc organised by the Centre for Social Concern (CfSC).
Last week, Admarc chief executive officer Felix Jumbe said the parastatal needs K300 billion to recapitalise to keep up with its strategic business plan to become a major off-taker of all farm produce in the country.
While acknowledging the important need to recapitalise Admarc, Suleman said corruption has dented the image of the institution.
He said: “As a committee, we are concerned with the corruption that is happening in Admarc depots as well as mismanagement of funds. These issues need to be dealt with as the institution is seeking recapitalisation.”
On his part, Jumbe blamed the rot at Admarc on broken systems that have existed over the years and abused by some staff.
He said: “The systems could be operational, financial and human resources in nature, which have been weak and not delivering the desired output.
“We are working to strengthen the systems so that we should stop the corruption. The weak systems are a fertile ground for corruption.”
Jumbe then faulted the planned separation of social and commercial functions of the State produce trader, saying the two systems complement each other in a modern business model.
CfSC executive director James Ngahy said Admarc through its social functions of providing affordable maize, is the public institution that will help to enforce the Right to Food Bill once it is tabled and passed in Parliament.
He said the Agriculture Committee of Parliament was crucial in pushing for the tabling of the Bill as well as recapitalisation of Admarc through parliamentary loan authorisation Bill.
Agriculture expert Tamani Nkhono-Mvula proposed specific policy to govern how Admarc’s social functions will be managed, noting that government has pulled down the institution through unsustainable social functions.
He noted that government always instructs Admarc to borrow money from commercial banks for purposes of fulfilling social functions.