MALAWI – Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) has engaged the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) to undertake a fresh test on the alleged “rotten” maize to ascertain whether it is fit for consumption,
The uproar started from an earlier statement that the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Sosten Gwengwe made, claiming that 10 000MT of maize under Admarc’s custody was rotten and unfit for human consumption.
However, even though the minister later disputed the claim arguing that the said consignment had only been fumigated, the heated debate has escalated forcing Admarc to engage MBS to ascertain the doubts.
Admarc is a government-owned corporation mandated to promote the Malawian economy by increasing the volume and quality of its agricultural exports, developing new foreign markets for the consumption of Malawian agricultural produce, and supporting the farmers.
The corporation had procured 100,000mt to be used as collateral for obtaining loans from commercial banks and the Export Development Fund.
Of the 100,000 Mt, 60,000mt were for NBS Bank and an independent quality assessment had reported that 10,000mt were discolored.
The directive to retest the consignment came from Chrissy Nyirenda, the Admarc head of finance as she was responding to a request by Machinga East legislator Esther Jolobala (United Democratic Front) for the cluster members to visit Admarc to check the maize that is said to be unfit for human consumption
“MBS has been engaged to do the test again to see whether the maize is fit for consumption or not. We cannot say the maize is rotten, that is why we have engaged MBS, she said.
However, her response put Jolobala in a query as she wondered if engaging MBS meant that Admarc did not trust the entity that was initially tasked to vet the maize.
Before the disputes, the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) had disclosed that some of its maize, which was in Admarc’s custody, had been attacked by weevils.
Sameer Suleman, Admarc’s committee chairperson maintains that no maize is rotten and that the government must stop playing games. He, however, insisted on an inquiry or audit to establish the state and quantities of maize at Admarc.