A former board director of the Malawi’s National Food Reserve Agency Billy Banda is holding President Joyce Banda is responsible for the rotting of 60,000 metric tonnes of maize in the grain reserves.
This comes as opposition politicians and grain traders are also demanding that the government should give a detailed account of what really happened for the incident to happen when some consumers are spending nights at ADMARC depots to buy the staple food.
According to Billy Banda, the president has authority over all departments responsible for the custodian of the grain.
Banda told the media that as the president arrives in the country today, she needs to tell Malawians the truth about the situation
Said Banda: “We should be holding the president responsible in this situation because she is the one responsible to appoint the board of directors, receiving all reports from the ministers, ensuring that the crop and crop production is sustained. She is one responsible as head of state to look at how she has been going about distributing the maize.”
And Opposition politicians and grain traders have expressed shock over revelations that thousands of maize have gone bad at the country’s grain reserves.
The government is currently purchasing maize in Zambia to meet the demand.
President of MAFUNDE George Mnesa told the media :“It’s a shock that maize is getting damage after harvest. We haven’t been told the truth about the status of maize in the country. What is surprising is that now we are going to Zambia to buy maize when over the past years a had a surplus and that we have spent a lot of money on the subsidy programme.”
And board member of the grain traders processors association John Jim Banda said :“As grain traders, we are also surprised because most members of the grain traders also keep their maize in the silos. And we have been informed that our members are also unable to access the maize and they have been told that they cannot collect their maize from the silos. This explains that the maize has really gone bad.
“This year we might have had a shortfall because 140,000 metric tonnes has been exported informally, if this had been controlled we wouldn’t have been going to Zambia to look for 30,000 metric tones to seek the demand.
When contacted, minister of information attributed the problem to logistical problems.
Kunkuyu Said “That was a logistical problem, because it’s not acceptable that people should be starving when maize is going bad somewhere. But we have always said that getting maize to the Admarc depots has been a problem.
And while maize is not in the designated depots at that point it could be prone to these kinds of things because of going through to bad sheltering.”
Meanwhile, farmers say they are looking forward to entering into an agreement with the government to supply quality maize that could be kept in the country’s grain reserves.
This, according to the Farmers Union of Malawi president Felix Jumbe, could reduce the risk of maize going bad in the silos.
Jumbe believes over 30 metric tonnes of maize got rotten in the silos because the government is buying the commodity from vendors who do not care about quality.
He said contracted farmers would ensure that they supply quality maize that could be kept for a longer period in the silos without decomposing.