By John Saukira
AHL Commodities Exchange (AHCX), Malawi’s transparent market platform for commodities, has successfully completed the procurement of the 32,000 metric tonnes of white non-GMO maize for the Strategic Grain Reserves as per its government contract through the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) worth K5 billion.
AHCX Limited Research and Communications Manager Mark Ndipita disclosed this on Sunday saying they completed the exercise on November 2, 2018 as directed by NFRA.
He said the company bought 7,470 metric tonnes in Mzuzu, 19,672 in Lilongwe, 1,180 in Liwonde and 3,678 in Luchenza all totaling 32,000 metric tonnes.
“The maize was procured using both the open market and bidding systems from smallholder, medium and commercial farmers, cooperatives and traders at a fixed gross price of K150 per kilogramme from which a 3% withholding tax was deducted.
“Under the open market system, small and medium scale farmers and traders with volumes from 0.5 to 15 metric tonnes sold their maize through walk-ins.
“Under the bidding system, commercial farmers, cooperatives, farmer organizations and traders submitted written bids to an Independent Procurement Committee (IPC) that was set up by AHCX and those that were awarded a contract supplied a minimum of 50 metric tonnes and a maximum of 500 metric tonnes,” Ndipita said.
AHCX Limited has since assured all stakeholders and the public that it has procured very good quality maize in all the delivery locations because before procurement, the maize was tested by AHCX and NFRA using various quality assurance models such as type, originality, production year, moisture content, germinated year, grain of other colour, extra matter and trash.
Ndipita said the company was checking contaminants aflotoxin and live insects.
He said AHCX is a transparent, fair and efficient market platform that accommodates all stakeholders and is a corruption free zone.
“It remained committed throughout the period to prevent any form of malpractices in the procurement of the maize. The Exchange managed to put in place various surveillance and reporting systems to curb any attempts at corruption by any stakeholder. AHCX is pleased to report that it did not receive any complaint on corrupt practices throughout the whole exercise.”
He said AHCX instituted the IPC that played an oversight role in the purchase of the 32,000 metric tonnes of maize.
“The IPC included the Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET), which represented the civil society, the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI), which represented the business community, Auditor General’s office and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) which guaranteed integrity of the process and AHCX management as the secretariat.
“The IPC evaluated and awarded contracts to successful bidders and it helped immensely in ensuring transparency, accountability, fairness and orderliness in all the processes of procuring the maize.”
Ndipita said considering that AHCX was entrusted with executing the assignment funded by public resources, the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture in the National Assembly made ad hoc visits to some locations to confirm that the exercise was being handled in a transparent and efficient manners.
Ndipita said AHCX is satisfied with the positive feedback received after the visits which reflect on the general confidence in AHCX to handle subsequent assignments even better.
“Throughout the whole process, AHCX also encouraged members of the general public to use its Tip-Offs Anonymous service in reporting any suspicions of fraud, theft and corruption by calling its toll-free lines 847 on TNM, Airtel or Access lines and 80000847 on MTL lines.”
For AHCX to successfully complete the procurement of the maize for the Strategic Grain Reserves on behalf of NFRA, a number of stakeholders according to Ndipita played very important roles.
“AHCX Management would like to express its profound gratitude to the following stakeholders for their support: Government, NFRA, Members of Parliament through Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Irrigation, Farmer Organizations, Anti Corruption Bureau, MCCCI, CISANET, the Auditors General’s Office, smallholder, medium and commercial farmers, cooperatives, traders and the general public,” he said .
AHCX is a marketplace where buyers and sellers can transact trade of commodities with assurance on quality, delivery and payment.
AHCX was formed to ensure that the market is assisted with a modern market institution that brings in much needed integrity, by providing a guarantee mechanism, for the quality, quantity and payments by introducing standardized contracts and trading systems.
AHCX is fully electronic market, bringing in transparency and empowering the farmers by disseminating market information in real time to all market players; and at a later stage, to provide the market with options for risk management by offering futures trading.
Its vision include empowering Malawi by providing a state of art, efficient, fair and transparent platform for trading in commodities and other assets in competitive and Innovative manner, upholding global standards and on top of that its vision include to operate a competitive, fair, transparent and efficient exchange powered by innovation and technology while harnessing knowledge and creating value to all stakeholders.