Parliamentary Cluster Committee on Agriculture, Irrigation & Natural Resources and Climate Change has asked Ministry of Finance to allocate K95 billion to Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) to be used for buying farm produce.
The Members of Parliament suggested that K80 billion should be used to buy the farm produce while the remaining K15 billion should be used for operations.
Speaking during a cluster meeting with Admarc on Thursday, Chairperson on Natural Resources and Climate Change Welani Chilenga said government has not allocated any funds in the budget for Admarc to purchase farm produce because of corrupt practices that have been going on at the Admarc as a result the Ministry of Finance has recommended National (NFRA) to do the buying.
He described the situation as sad because only few individuals will be able to sell maize considering that NRFA is located only in Lilongwe while Admarc is everywhere including in the remote and hard to reach areas.
Chilenga added that the ministry has only allowed Admarc to borrow funds domestically and not externally, as such the Members of Parliament believe the decision has come late and that the interest rates are very high also is very rarely if the banks can allow the Admarc to borrow money.
He added they have faith in the current Admarc management and it has proved to the Parliamentary cluster that it can deliver.
“Our Head of State president Lazarus Chakwera in his State of National Address (SONA) clearly indicated that he wants Admarc to go back where it was and as the cluster, we want to support our president at the same time we want to support local and Smallholder farmers,” he said
On her Part, Member of Parliament for Machinga East Esther Jailosi Jolobala said the funds will not benefit a few individuals but will go a long way in supporting farmers living in remote areas to sell their produce anywhere at Admarc markets.
“We are asking the Minister of Finance to look into this issue critically. The state president said he will create one million jobs by giving the local people subsidy fertilizer for them to be able to cultivate, have a bumper yield, sell and after that they can have those small business,” he said.
Admarc Board Chairperson, Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi, said their prayer is that the committee should help Admarc to meet their standard of buying maize and other farm produce.