MALAWI – Leading commodity market, AHL Commodities Exchange (AHCX) has procured 9,500 metric tonnes of maize for strategic grain reserves against the 32,000 metric tonnes targeted for the month.
AHCX was contracted by the government through the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to procure 32 000 metric tonnes of white non-GMO maize.
The government released US$13.75 million (K10 billion) for the purchase of the commodity of which NFRA received US$6.87 million (K5 billion) while State grain trader, the Agriculture Development Marketing Corporation (Admarc) got US$6.87 million (K5 billion).
“We are hopeful that we will achieve our plan because we now have four warehouses across the country where we are purchasing the maize in Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Liwonde and Luchenza.
We started with two warehouses but now with the four, suppliers are offloading huge volumes of maize giving us hope that we could finish this exercise soon.
“Currently, the maximum time a truck stays at the warehouses before offloading is 48 hours, otherwise we are mostly offloading within 24 hours,” said Company Research and Communications Manager Mark Ndipita.
AHCX said it is implementing a booking system that will ensure efficiency and avoid long queues of trucks through flexible delivery times and dates.
The procurement process is however hampered by frequent grain rejections as a result of live infestation, weevils, high moisture and other poor maize quality characteristics.
This year, AHCX’s procurement programme covered small-scale farmers with not more than 15 metric tonnes of maize, benefiting from the competitive price of US$0.21 (K150) per kilogram.
For large-scale farmers and traders, AHCX, through an Independent Procurement Committee, allowed them to apply by submitting Expressions of Interest and were awarded contracts for up to 500 metric tonnes each per location.
This saves the farmers from delays by NFRA to procure maize resulting in increased post-harvest losses, and also unscrupulous commodity vendors who buy from farmers at poor prices.