No maize in Malawi’s Admarc depots
Despite announcing that Admarc will ration maize sales to only 10 kilogrammes per customer, people cannot access the grain since most Admarc markets have no maize stocks.
The unavailability of maize in many Admarc Depots in Malawi means 1.5 million people facing food shortages will have no alternative but to hunt for maize at private traders who are selling the grain at exorbitant prices.
The development is coming just few weeks after the Ministry of Agriculture announced that the cut in maize sales is meant to fend off unscrupulous traders who buy the grain in bulk at a lower price and then sell it at a higher price.
A snap survey by The Daily Times shows that in many districts, people cannot even access the grain at Admarc depots despite the order of rationing the maize.
It is not only depots in the rural districts which are experiencing maize shortages as a visit to Zingwangwa, Bangwe and Ndirande Admarc depots in Blantyre where Admarc Headquarters is a just a few kilometers away are experiencing the same challenges.
“We receive between 60 to 80 bags of maize once a week, and it finishes the same day, when the maize comes only few people manage to buy the 10 kilogrammes,” said one of the officers at an Admarc selling point in Blantyre.
He said private traders were selling the grain at exorbitant prices. That is why people were scrambling for the commodity at the Admarc markets.
“Our catchment area is very big as compared to the bags of maize that are being delivered in the markets,” he said.
The Admarc officer, who asked for anonymity, said it was unfortunate that those little bags of maize were being delivered once a week.
While in Blantyre and some districts the complaint is that only few bags of maize are delivered for sale, at Chitera Admarc Depot the situation is completely dire. The selling point has gone two years without receiving maize stocks, a development community members say could escalate hunger this year.
One of the community members, Loveness Panganani, said people from Golosi Village and other areas in Group Village Headman Mpama’s area have been finding it hard to access the grain.
“We have heard that some people are complaining that there is no maize in their areas but, for us, we have had no maize at Chitera Admarc for two years and we do not know if we will ever have stocks. To get maize, we travel long distances to Namadzi and Mbulumbudzi which is costly on our part,” she said.
Panganani said unavailability of maize stocks at the Admarc depot has resulted in rising in maize prices.
She said the Admarc outlet still stocks fertilisers every growing season, wondering how government could prioritise fertiliser at the expense of people’s food needs.
Speaking in a separate interview, Senior Chief Chitera confirmed that Chitera Admarc outlet has not had maize stocks.
“People have had no maize stocks, but for one year, and I suspect that there are people who deliberately bypass the Admarc outlet and deliver bags of maize somewhere. The maize does not even reach people there because unscrupulous business people buy the maize at night,” she said.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Jeffrey Luhanga said the issue was in the hands of Admarc.
About 10 percent of 13 million people face food shortages due of low yields maize, prolonged dry spells and flooding, according to the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee.