AHCX procures 9500 of 32 000 metric tonnes of maize for strategic grain reserves

AHL Commodities Exchange (AHCX) has disclosed that procurement of maize for the strategic grain reserves is progressing very well as 9,500 metric tonnes has already been bought and that they are working very hard so that by end of this month they will have 32,000 metric tonnes.

AHCX Company Research and Communications Manager Mark Ndipita

Company Research and Communications Manager Mark Ndipita said the procurement of maize is smooth and is optimistic to finish procurement of all 32,000 metric tonnes which Government contracted them to buy.

“As you might be aware, this year AHCX has been appointed by the Government through the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to procure 32,000 metric tonnes of maize for the strategic grain reserves and so far we have procured 9,500 metric tonnes of maize as of Friday, 28th September, 2018 and our plan is to finalize purchasing the maize by end October,” Ndipita said.

“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,” he said.

To ensure efficiency at all warehouses and avoiding long queues of trucks, the booking system which AHCX is implementing is helping a lot to ensure that only those suppliers delivering in a particular location at a particular time are informed the delivery date.

“At first we encountered a small challenge when we started procuring the maize because some suppliers were bringing poor quality maize which was rejected but after sensitizing the suppliers, few maize is being rejected because suppliers are now bringing good quality maize resulting in smooth running of the procurement exercise.

“More trucks of maize at first were rejected due to live infestation, weevils, high moisture content and due to other parameters. But now the quality of the maize has improved and this will also help us to achieve our plan of completing the procurement by end of this month,” Ndipita said.

He said AHCX is glad that small-scale farmers with not more than 15 metric tonnes have this year participated and have benefitted from the competitive price of K150 per kilogram through the walk in process and through the farmer organizations.

“Under walk in category of delivering the maize, the farmers who visited the warehouses and registered their names were allocated a booking date when they were expected to make their deliveries.

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.

The Independent Procurement Committee that was engaged by AHCX comprised of the following stakeholders: the Anti-Corruption Bureau (observer role), CISANET, MCCCI (private sector representative), the Auditor General’s office and AHCX Management to ensure fairness, accountability and transparency.

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