Malawi’s Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC), the national grain marketer, has a long history of developing and promoting Malawi’s agriculture sector. ADMARC has undergone some major changes over the past two decades as it transitioned from a government-owned enterprise with a monopoly in its field to a limited liability company operating in an increasingly competitive open market.
In May 2012, Malawi’s President Joyce Banda appointed Dr. Jerry Jana to be the new CEO of ADMARC specifically because he had the expertise ADMARC needs to continue to play a productive role in Malawi’s evolving economy. Dr. Jerry Jana explains, “I previously served as the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce and as the Chairman of the Malawi Development Corporation and of the Malawi Press Corporation, and was Malawi’s ambassador to the EU from 2000 to 2004. The president felt that with my background I could help return ADMARC to its glory days.”
Focus on commercial viability
ADMARC formerly worked with farmers all over the country and this focus on direct contacts with agricultural producers will not change, but the organisation has developed a new strategy for the future that focuses on commercial viability. Dr. Jerry Jana says, “While we will continue to serve farmers and to buy their crops and export them to earn foreign-exchange revenues, ADMARC must be operated like any private-sector business and we must eliminate any operations that do not make sense commercially.”
One of ADMARC’s key goals is to add value to Malawi’s agricultural exports. The company recently acquired three cotton gins so that cotton grown in Malawi can be processed before export instead of being exported in its raw state. ADMARC will also play a greater role in ensuring food security, according to Dr. Jerry Jana. Earlier this year the company rationed maize stored in its warehouses around the country to avoid widespread famine until the next crop of maize could be harvested in March.
ADMARC’s competitive edge comes from its long experience in Malawi’s agriculture sector and its well developed, country-wide infrastructure. Now the company aims to continue to grow with the help of partners and investors. Dr. Jerry Jana concludes, “We are looking for the right partners, ones who can help us upgrade our technologies and who can provide an influx of capital. In any new partnership we form, we will provide our strengths and our partners will provide their strengths, and we will share the profits of our ventures.”