Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet) says most of the problems that have led to the rotting of maize in the grain reserves were already discovered when the staple food also went bad in 2010/2011 harvesting season.
Cisanet National Director Tamani Nkhono-Mvula said in an interview yesterday that it was negligence on the part of government for failing to address the problems that arose that time.
“During 2010/2011 harvesting season some maize went bad in the grain reserves and after investigations it was discovered that the silos were leaking and in some silos the ventilators were not functioning.
“We hear also that this year some tonnes of maize have gone bad and we are told one of the reasons is leaking. Whilst we understand that they are doing investigations, why did government fail to maintain the silos after the previous report,” he questioned.
Mvula also suspected that Admarc was failing to transport maize because they knew that it was rotten.
“We had maize in the silos and Admarc kept on telling the nation that they had logistical problems to transport the maize from the grain reserves to the depots but few days later they said the maize went bad. It is difficult to marry the two. Therefore one can suspect that Admarc knew the truth,” he said.
Mvula said it was depressing that government was spending billions of kwacha for the Farm Input Subsidy Programme yet it was failing to maintain the silos.
Minister of Agriculture Peter Mwanza confirmed that a large part of the country’s maize stock has gone bad.
And Press Secretary for the President Steve Nhlane told the media recently that government was investigating the matter.
“[They] are investigating how and why the problem occurred without being detected early enough,” said Nhlane before adding: “It is therefore too early to say who is or was at fault.”